A daily devotion on the lessons from the revised common lectionary.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Epiphany 2c - Conclusion
I spent a week in Port-au-Prince in 1997 and stayed with missionaries in Pétionville in a house with no electricity or running water. We spent the days in the slums meeting people and witnessing their struggle to survive. It didn’t take long to be overwhelmed to the point of despair at the plight of the poor in a land with little left to offer. At times I would just begin to weep, mostly when I thought of my life and of home and of Joshua, then two years old. Truth is I felt guilty for winning the lottery by not being born into abject poverty like the vast majority of humans on this planet. And along with that guilt was absolute hopelessness because there was nothing I could do to help the people who very quickly came to mean something to me. But the people I was feeling sorry for felt sorry for me and in a tar paper shack sanctuary they prayed and danced and sang and shared the joy and peace of the Lord like I had never known and I wept again because for a moment the slums of Port-au-Prince felt a lot like heaven. And then God who through the week had seemed so distant in the face of such suffering spoke the Gospel to me. “They will be first in the kingdom and you will be last.” And at that I really did weep for the joy of it. I left everything I brought with me in Haiti including the guilt and hopelessness because this present suffering is not worth comparing with the joys that are to come. And because that is true we do not wait for that day with idle hands but through acts of kindness, charity, mercy and love bring the future into our present. And in the face of this present disaster we are called in hope to do more than just pray for the people of Haiti who deal or no deal are loved by God.