Archive for Haiti

Haiti: Conditions in One Settlement Camp

// September 2nd, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Haiti

I traveled to Haiti with members of the AME Church on Monday, August 30, 2010 to participate in a Strategic Planning group.  Bishop Vashti McKenzie asked Rev. Dr. Kenneth Robinson and me to represent the 13th District (Tennessee and Kentucky) in the meeting. There are a lot of powerful images to share in the coming days. In the meantime, the men in the videos below give a perspective of life in one of over 1300 settlement camps for people displaced by the earthquake.

Bread and Cup: Why I Want to Go to Haiti

// January 15th, 2010 // 8 Comments » // Haiti, Worship Resources

I believe deeply in the power of the sacraments of the church. Though often overlooked, tagged onto the end of a service or relegated to a poorly attended evening service, the sacraments are a gift from God. The sacraments are a visible sign of an invisible reality: the love of God. When invested with meaning and significance, the sacraments of the church impart power to the church. Sacraments are the embodiment of mystery.

Humbling ourselves before God in the sacraments is:

  • living into the mystery of God and of God’s Church
  • accepting that salvation is the act of God in Christ
  • celebrating that grace is free, not earned, not bought
  • participating in community
  • seeking peace tenaciously
  • loving freely and actively
  • retiring hate, biases and prerequisites
  • bodying forth the mission of Christ in the earth
  • knowing that we do not know it all
  • engaging our limitations
  • trusting God who is all powerful
  • filling up to overflowing with the love of God.

So, I want to go to Haiti to celebrate the sacraments of God’s church there. I want to body forth the mission of Christ to a literally broken creation. I want to stand and declare the love of God in Christ Jesus to my sisters and brothers who are living through intense suffering.

The Bread and the Cup have special meaning in this hour in the church, in the world. I say these words when I distribute the elements of communion: “This is the Body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, broken for you. Eat with thanksgiving in your heart. And this is His Blood shed for you from Calvary’s cross. Drink with thanksgiving for in so doing you show forth Christ’s death and resurrection until He returns.”

For a people broken and bleeding, there is Christ who knows what it is to be broken and to bleed. Christ is with the people of Haiti sharing the experience of being broken and bleeding, yet innocent.

There must be Doctors Without Walls, keepers of the peace, many soldiers, reporters to document and chronicle events, but there must also be some folk to be Christ and to declare Christ’s Gospel by distributing food, ministering comfort, interceding in prayer, preaching a prophetic Word and administering the sacraments of God and God’s church. I want one of those folk to be me.

Have you thought about or felt led to go? Tell me in the comments section below.  I really want to discuss this.

A Litany Crying Out for God’s Mercy

// January 14th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Haiti, Worship Resources

One:   For the people of Haiti who are suffering the affects of the earthquake,

Many: O Lord, we cry out to You for Your mercy.

One:    For those still clinging to life beneath the rubble

Many:  O Lord, we cry out to You for Your mercy.

One:    For each and every man, woman, boy and girl who are looking for loved ones and hoping to find them alive,

Many: O Lord, we cry out to You for Your mercy.

One:    For the workers from all over the world who labor to rescue, keep peace, minister and heal,

Many: O Lord, we cry out to You for Your mercy.

One:    For the ministers and laypeople who are with the suffering ministering to them Your Presence,

Many: O Lord, we cry out to You for Your mercy.

One:    For the memories of your Children who lost their lives in this tragedy,

Many: O Lord, we cry out to You for Your mercy, Your strength and Your grace.

One:    For the people of Haiti and for all who suffer in any place in this hour

Many: O Lord, we cry out to You for Your mercy. AMEN

A Prayer for People of Haiti Still Trapped in the Rubble

// January 14th, 2010 // 7 Comments » // Haiti, worship, Worship Resources

O God, Creator and Sustainer of all that is, we come to You in reverence and humility thanking You for the great privilege of prayer. With our hearts heavy from grief and our minds filled with questions, we come to you! Once again and, as always, we need Your grace and mercy. God, we trust Your wisdom in all things.

Our hearts are filled with anguish for our sisters and brothers who are trapped in the rubble in Haiti who are still hoping and praying to be found before their spirits leave their bodies.

O God our Keeper! Your Word tells us, if we make our beds in Sheol, You are right there. So, show Yourself, manifest Your Presence to our sisters and brothers who are right now still trapped debris. Glorify Yourself in the rubble!

O God our Comforter! Wrap your loving arms around our Haitian sisters and brothers who are longing for to see their family members and loved ones again.

O God our Sustainer! Empower and strengthen rescue workers, keepers of the peace, medical personnel and preachers of your Gospel with your Holy Spirit.

O God our Peace! Breathe on Haiti.

O God our Healer! Heal broken bodies, troubled minds and sorrowing hearts.

O God our Joy! Penetrate the grief, pain and sorrow by the great power of your Presence that all may know, even in tragedies, that you are the Lord.

In Jesus’ holy name, AMEN

Haiti – Caring Enough to Ask Why

// January 13th, 2010 // 5 Comments » // Haiti, Worship Resources

What do we think about what has happened in Haiti? Pat Robertson has proffered a spiritual reason for this tragedy that is frighteningly hateful. A young friend has just tweeted simply, “Theodicy?” which is a defense of the goodness of God in the face of “evil.” These two are among a host of people who are struggling to understand how and why such horrible occurrences happen in the world. The tsunami which took place in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina gave rise to similar questionings. At the root of many of the questions really is, why would God let something like this happen to God’s creation?

Even the people who bequeathed to us the writings that make up the book of Genesis wrestled with why tragedies happen. I suppose we are no closer to finding a satisfactory answer now than then. Well, let me just speak for myself: I have no answers, but I care. I care deeply. I care enough to act and I care enough to ask.

Yes, I will contribute financially to the relief effort and encourage friends and those I serve to do the same. But, beyond this, I will do the much harder work of grieving the dead. I will sit still and, at least, try to wrap my mind around the scope of the loss of life. I will work hard not to hear the big number of the nameless, faceless others who died in the tragedy. Instead, I will try to mourn individual people… mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, babies of specific and particular backgrounds who have ceased to hope, to love. I will look up and out into space imagining the direction of these brothers and sisters who have taken transit to the next realm and I will re-member them. I will name them and not number them. I will re-member, I will put the broken back together in my heart. I will love these individual people.

Of course, I will ask “why?” But having the answer is not as important as caring enough to ask the question.