Thursday, February 04, 2010

Lamenting & Remembering Haiti, again and again

It seems the blogosphere and other social media outlets have forgotten about Haiti. For a couple weeks, lots were tweeting and updating about the devastation. Now, for those of us far from it, life is once again "normal." Just peruse your recent updates. It's Oscar time! "Who's gonna win the Superbowl?" And hey, Lost is back on! Such a weird thing. I was looking tonight and found nothing, news home pages have moved on. I'm convicted because so have I. I am so comfortable and insulated from such pain. It's just like when Hurricane Katrina happened. After a month the news changed and then many of us far from it went on to living our lives. But then I remember seeing a documentary one year after, and New Orleans was still a chaotic mess. And still today it needs major help. Almost five years later, teams are still rebuilding the city, but we rarely hear news about it. Sadly, I'm thinking the same thing will happen with Haiti.

I'm currently studying Psalms through one of my seminary classes. We were studying Psalm 88 & 89 which are amazing, strong words of lament. I appreciate the words of Psalm 88 that fully express pain and suffering with out falsifying joy or even trying to muster up hope. It's not that hope is fully gone, it's just a reality of how we can feel at significant times in life. I love that the Bible doesn't shy away from this expression of grief. We aren't meant to just put on the happy face. God can handle our sorrow. One of the pet peeves I have is when we, the church, expect ourselves (or other people ) to "forget what happened during day, and just celebrate." It's as if we think God wants us to put the pain aside, forget about it, and buck up so we can focus on him. (Ever heard this on a Sunday?). I think it is perfectly biblical and right that we can focus on God IN our pain, or just cry miserably TO him about our pain. We aren't meant to put off the suffering of life in nice little compartments. In fact, if we leave out lament, we miss out on the totality of experiencing God's word. With that, for one of my seminary assignments, I wrote a lament for Haiti, as Haiti.

A Lament for the people of Haiti

You are the God who saves,
You are the one who restores us in our suffering.

Please hear our prayer.
We beg you to listen to our desperate plea for help

We have been pummeled to the ground.
We are like those in a grave.

We have suffered death within seconds.
We have lost our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers.

Everywhere we look we see weeping and wailing.
Day and night we hear the cries of the orphans and widows.

Foreigners have come to ransack our meager belongings.
They have come to steal our children to other lands.

Will this tragedy have no end, oh God?
Will you intervene and save us from this terror?

Some point their finger and blame us, for our transgressions are many.
We are called the cursed ones of God.

We know the news has spread to the world.
Our disgrace has made it's way to every person.

Yet we are already yesterday's news.

Have you no mercy, oh God?
Will you leave us hungry and thirsty?

Our bones are crushed and our skin is cracked.
Our tongues are dry and our stomachs turn within.

Yet God we know you are have not forsaken us.
You can do no evil.

We will tell our souls to trust in you,
You are worthy to be praised.

We need you to remember your promises.
We need you to send your saints to bring light to this darkness

Patiently we wait for you,
In this dry and sun scorched land we will wait for our salvation.

With blood on our faces and tears in our eyes, we will wait for you.
As we cry and lament for our life and our land, we hold on to you.

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