The news out of Haiti is shocking. There is part of us that stands in shocked fascination, in horror, and another part of us that wants to run and hide. Pull the covers up. Watch "American Idol" and eat a bag of popcorn or go shopping or read Sports Illustrated.
But there is a deeper part: a part of us that is eager to help. To do something. That is what the people of our church -and many churches- will be doing this weekend: receiving an offering.
I am confident that we, with others, will send a mission team. Right now, though, experts say the worst thing we can is rush down there. Experts are assessing what needs to happen first. Laying out a plan. Governments and non-governmental organizations (NGO's) like United Methodist Committee on Relief, Church World Service, the Red Cross, Lutheran Relief, Doctors without Borders, will play their part.
Two things trouble me. First, is the comment by another UM pastor dismissing the great work of United Methodist Committee on Relief...he and his church have another, better way of helping. He says. That kind of attitude is sad.
Second, are the comments by "Christian" tv personality Pat Robertson. Explaining the misery of Haiti is due to their being cursed. Because they made a pact with the devil in their desire to be free of the French. This is stomach-churning stuff. These are the kinds of comments that turn the world off to Christianity. The friends of Job, in the Old Testament, showed up with an explanation for his suffering and their comments caused more damage than helped.
Today, this week, is a time to use few words and to act. We will be doing more in the months and years to come because this nation to our south may need to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Use few words.