In the aftermath of the earthquakes in Haiti there are many Christians asking where God is in all of this? How could God allow this to happen to so many people who sought the Lord for protection in the valleys and shadow of death? Was this God’s plan for the husband and wives who lost their children or each other? How does a husband reconcile the lost of a pregnant wife? How does a child reconcile the lost of parents? What will the preacher in Haiti preach on this Sunday? Is God still good? How can the people of God sing songs of joy on Sunday morning, when there is no church to return to? Should we bother even having service this week or next?
One of the stages of grief is denial and I am certain there are still many people in Haiti who are in denial about the catastrophic consequences that have changed their lives forever. While in denial, people will try to carry on their lives as usual and their new reality has yet to come into focus. Still others will continue to pray for miracles, but when the last stone has been turned and the relief workers have returned home, then anger will abide in the hearts of many. This anger will cause a separation from God and can result in an extended depression and a total loss of hope. For this reason we must wrestle with questions of faith and be able to reconcile who God is in the midst of so much pain.
The 55th verse of the first letter to the Corinthians reads, “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” Beginning on January 12, 2010 and the days yet to come, the sting of death weights upon the hearts of everyone, especially those who have labored for economic justice and human rights in Haiti. Throughout Haiti’s national history, life has not been easy and the recent earthquakes have continued a legacy of senseless deaths and aborted dreams. This time the sting of death cannot and must not be ignored. Let us embrace this pain, this sting, as we gather all of over the world to help rebuild the hopes and dreams of a people determined to embrace a life a liberty and justice. Indifference shall lead us all down a road to which there is no return.
The sting of death is real for us all, but the victory of death has no place in the hearts and minds of those believe in the atonement offered by Jesus the Christ. There was no victory gained by anyone in these recent deaths of more than 200,000 men, women and children. Left are widows, orphans and parents and love ones that shall no longer share the lives of those who are gone. Yet, we do have victory in the promises of Christ Jesus. Life does not end with the events of this world and that is something we can rejoice about.
We do mourn for the injustice perpetrated against Haiti over the past 200 years and in the name of God we declare that this moment shall not pass without a witness. We mourn the death of every man, woman and child as well as all living things (especially pets) so that the threat of injustice shall meet the resistance of justice. We mourn today to answer the question, “O death, where is thy victory? Where is thy sting?” with the justice loving mercy that inspires us to walk humbly with our God.
Finally, we are reminded in the Gospel according to the Apostle Matthew, that Jesus warned us that we “will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. As we mourn for the pain we are experiencing, we must realize that God is bringing forth a new creation – a new heavens and a new earth. Let the birth pains come, for through these pains the best is still yet to come.
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