Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The Beatitudes and Elie Wiesel speak to my soul in the wake of the Haitian catastrophe

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Tuesday, I went looking for some counsel.

I have significantly greater care for that island nation today than I did six months ago. International Child Care Ministries, with which I now serve, has 8,900 Haitian kids under sponsorship with 53 schools and a robust Haitian staff--none of which we have heard from yet.

Where does one go in the face of such loss of life and incomprehensible level of natural disaster? Don't even try to foist off pat and easy answers on me.

Still numb, I found myself turning to the Scriptures and to a Jewish holocaust survivor for counsel today.

I found help in the Beatitudes. Reading them as the primary message of Jesus reminds me that Jesus is not the success guru we sometimes try to make him out to be. Blessed are those who mourn; they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek; they'll inherit the earth. Blessed are the merciful; they'll be shown mercy. This is a very different message than an accusation of Haitians being cursed for making some pact with the devil that Christian TV evangelist Pat Robertson declared.

Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy.

And, I happened onto an observation on the Scriptures by Elie Wiesel, that eloquent, truth-telling, gut-wrenching holocaust survivor who has for a generation helped the world not only "never forget" but to remember well and choose to live differently. Here is Wiesel's statement from his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:

"We must remember the suffering of my people, as we must remember that of the Ethiopians, the Cambodians, the boat people, the Palestinians, the Mesquite Indians, the Argentinian desaparedicos--the list seems endless.

"Let us remember Job, who, having lost everything--his children, his friends, his possessions, and even his argument with God--still found the strength to begin again, to rebuild his life. Job was determined not to repudiate the creation, however imperfect, that God had entrusted to him."

Let us mourn with those who mourn. Perhaps we together shall be comforted. And together build again.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

1 comment:

  1. I need a useful theology that allows for a God who simultaneously protects my 17 yr old daughter on the highway, then allows 100,000 Haitians to be buried alive; moreover, he allows his called missionaries to be buried with them. Are we to compartmentalize these events for our spiritual sanity, or is there a method of theologically connecting these dots?

    Mark Davisson


Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.