Thursday, January 14, 2010

God Loves You, Haiti

As the news of the tragedy in Haiti continues to unfold hour by hour, I didn't think it was appropriate to have my blog focusing on something as trivial as a TV show.

In times like this, our first response must be to call on God. I appreciate this prayer, found on the Monastic Mumblings blog. Please join me in prayer for this nation and these people:

Litany for Haiti

Almighty and gracious God, we come to You with our hearts full of prayers both spoken and those that cannot be put into words. As the ancient psalmist wrote, You are our refuge and strength, even though the earth be moved and mountains cast into the sea. So with quiet confidence we offer our prayers to You for the people of Haiti stricken by violent earthquakes, terrifying entrapment in rubble, and devastation on a national scale. Gather them under Your wings, calm their fears and keep their faith strong.

Lord hear our prayers.

At a time like this we stand in awe of the power of nature - the earth itself - with its terrible capacity to destroy as well as to save and we are reminded of our vulnerability as human creatures who inhabit this vast planet. We bring to You in prayer our questions, our humility and also our trust in this hour of need.

Lord hear our prayers.

We pray for those who grieve the loss of family, friends and neighbors, for those who are injured, those separated and searching for family, and especially for those who have been trapped in the rubble, Lord be close to them in that horrifying darkness. We ask for Your continued presence with them and we commend to Your loving care all those who have died.

Lord hear our prayers.

We also commend to Your loving care all those who are involved in rescuing people and those caring for the injured in hospitals and clinics. Be with all the churches and people as they minister in Your name to the people. Sustain them through this time of tremendous loss and stress.

Lord hear our prayers.

We commend to Your care those who will be working in debris removal and cleaning up. We especially pray for those burdened by unimaginable losses and who have found themselves refugees in their own country. May shelter and clean water and food and medicines and comfort be supplied as quickly as possible.

Lord hear our prayers

We pray especially the poor, who live throughout Haiti and those whose livelihoods have been lost or impacted by this disaster and ask that You would raise them up and bless them. We pray for those whose workplaces have become unsafe and who face an uncertain future and ask that they may find the assistance they need

Lord hear our prayers.

We pray for communities that have been devastated that they may live and learn and support one another and have joy in their lives once again. May this disaster bring people together to rebuild their cities, and to fill their lives with justice, their plates with food and their streets with music. Bring them peace and healing from all evil.

Lord hear our prayers.

We pray for those traveling, who feel homesick and far away from loved ones and their homes at this time; those who are trying to get in contact with family and who are worried and frustrated and who long to embrace their families. Comfort families across the distance.

Lord hear our prayers.

We give thanks to God for the blessings in our lives, especially the gifts we so often take for granted until they are in danger of being taken away from us - the gift of family, friends, a home, our possessions. Most of all we praise God for the gift of life itself.

Lord hear our prayers.

We also pray for all people of the human family all around the world affected by other natural disasters. O God, Great Shepherd of the sheep, gather us all in Your arms and lead us safely within the one fold of Your love.

Lord hear us, Lord hear our prayer

Much has been said about Pat Robertson's inane, misinformed pronouncement of God's judgment on this "cursed" nation that, apparently, sold its soul to Satan. I denounce his words as well; he does not speak for me. Here's his website's response to the outcry.

I appreciate the balanced response to the crisis from some of my brothers: Peter Wehner, Donald Miller and Tony Campolo.

So now, having brought it to God in prayer and denounced the crazy dude, what shall we do? How can we respond? All of our efforts seem so limited.

But as Gary Walter (President of the ECC) says, "No life-changing, kingdom-changing impact ever happens that is not merely the accumulation of faithful people faithfully pursuing Christ’s priorities in the world. That is who we are at our best."

My little bit counts.

Two organizations that I support are helping meet immediate needs on the ground in Haiti. Check out One Day's Wages and Covenant World Relief.

Redeemer Covenant Church will be taking a special offering this weekend in our worship gatherings to send to Haiti through Covenant World Relief. If you're planning to be there, please consider prayerfully this opportunity to reach out beyond ourselves and our faith community into the lives of people who so desperately need our help right now. This afternoon I got to listen in on a conference call with the director of Covenant World Relief, Dave Husby. He says that money donations are essential right now. They are going toward purchasing aid kits that include blankets, water and food. We have aid workers on the ground now and can use money immediately.

Our offering will be taken at the end of the worship gathering this week as we sing a song that is becoming a rallying cry for our congregation. This song was written by Jon Stockstill and Israel Houghton as a response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. May its words inspire us all to be the Church - the loving, living, breathing, serving, giving Body of Jesus - to Haiti in their hour of need.

We are alive, filled with Your glorious light
Out of the dark into Your marvelous light
We are waiting with expectation
Spirit, raise us up with You

Let the church rise from the ashes
Let the church fall to her knees
Let us be light in the darkness
Let the church rise, let the church rise

Moving with power, bringing Your name to the earth
Singing Your praises, lifting up glorious songs
We are moving with His compassion
Spirit, raise us up with You

Let Your wind blow, let Your wind blow, let Your wind blow, revive us again Lord

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