You have likely seen some of the images that have emerged from the earthquake. The images, the videos, the testimonies of the people who have suffered this tragedy: they are haunting and horrifying. The cause the ancient cry of the Psalms to be heard: "How long, O Lord?"
They also spur something within us: a desire to do something. I want to make clear what we can do to help.
First of all, we can pray. Pray for the Lord's mercy and mighty arm of salvation to be active in and through the people and workers who are already there in Port-au-Prince. Pray for consolation and sustained care for those who have lost loved ones. Pray that the same God who brought life out of death in Jesus Christ would continue to work that wonder.
Secondly, we can act. You may already be aware of ways to get funds or vital necessities to the island, but you can also support the relief work by giving to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is an extension of our denomination that works to provide emergency and ongoing support to major tragedies. They have already released a significant amount to help with the relief. More funds will obviously be needed.
There are three ways you can give to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. You can write a check this coming Sunday and place it in the offering plate. You can do so online at www.pcusa.org/pda/ Or you can send funds to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
If you do decide to give, please include the special designated giving account "DR000064 – Haiti" on your check.I also encourage you to keep checking Presbyterian Disaster Assistance website at www.pcusa.org/pda/ There you will find updates on other ways you can respond.
Finally, we can be attentive to the pain others are experiencing. You might read Psalm 13 and pray it for the Haitian people. I am also including a hymn written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette for moments of disaster. I offer it as a means to have compassion upon others and as a way to connect with God.
We will gather on Sunday to invite God's continuing help and mercy. We will also remember the time Jesus acted generously and graciously in an apparent crisis. I hope to see you there.
God, We've Known Such Grief and Anger
Disaster response hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
Tune: Babilone 188.8.131.52 D
("There's a Wideness in God's Mercy")
God, we've known such grief and anger
As we've heard your people cry.
We have asked you, "How much longer?"
We have sadly wondered, "Why?"
In this world of so much suffering,
May we hear your word anew:
"I will never leave you orphaned;
I will not abandon you."
By your grace comes resurrection;
By your love, you cast out fear.
You give strength and sure direction
As we seek to serve you here.
You give comfort to the grieving,
And you bless the ones who mourn.
May we trust in you, believing
Out of chaos, hope is born.
You have claimed us by your grace.
And through Jesus, you have called us
To bring hope to every place.
In each rescue worker's caring,
In each faithful volunteer,
In each Christian's love and sharing,
God, we glimpse your kingdom here.
This hymn is used by permission from Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. Permission is granted for this hymn's free use by churches that support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette and Bruce Gillette are pastors at Limestone Presbyterian Church, 3201 Limestone Road, Wilmington, Delaware 19808-2198.