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Friday, 15 January 2010

Another Prayer for Haiti


"God, you are the one who gave me life. Why are we suffering?"
- these are lines of a song being sung among the survivors of Haiti's earthquake camped overnight in Place St. Pierre, Port-au-Prince. (Source The Miami Herald). The words sum up the hard questions that are sometimes asked of people of faith at times of disaster. People wonder how God can let such suffering and death happen. Where is God in all this?

There are some very stupid answers to these questions. One U.S. television "evangelist", Pat Robertson, said on his programme, “They (Haitians) were under the heel of the French…and they got together and swore a pact to the devil". What utter nonsense. (If you don't believe a Christian preacher could say such disgraceful things, click here and see the video clip. But if you do continue watching for the excellent response from a Haitian spokesman.)

In the Gospel (St John 9.1-3) Jesus clearly refutes any direct connection between our moral condition and our fate in this world. So let us be absolutely clear: our God does not cause evil, and does not take violent retribution on people because of their past behaviour.

Instead, to seek answers we need to ponder the word of the LORD from Isaiah (43.2) "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you". God is in the midst of human tragedy. God suffers with those who suffer and mourns with those who mourn. Where is God in this tragedy? Surely in the midst of the rubble of Port-au-Prince, suffering with the wounded, weeping with the bereaved, binding up the broken hearted.

We continue to keep the people of Haiti in our prayers especially in our churches this Sunday. Do give generously to agencies engaged in the relief efforts.

Here is another prayer for Haiti, prepared by the Revd Peter Moger, the Church of England's Worship Development Officer:

O God, our refuge and strength,
we hold before you the nation and people of Haiti,
and pray for healing in the midst of tragedy and devastation.
Give comfort to the homeless, the bereaved and the suffering,
courage to survivors,
wisdom to those who seek to help,
and light to all who live in the shadow of death.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ,
our rock and our salvation. Amen.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you Bishop David. There's another thoughtful response which i think bears reflection here http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=505

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  2. It is very good. Thanks Philippe

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  3. +David, our chaplaincy has decided to donate a rather substantial amount to Christian Aids Haiti Appeal, but we are unable to find information on how to donate via bank transfer on their web site. They offer a selection of rather "fancy" ways of donating, but seem to have that one left out. We will contact them by email, but if you know more, we would be grateful for more information, SY

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