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Sighs to Deep for Words

This week I’ve had Japan on my mind. The people  . . . the place  . . . the land  . . . the sea . . . the profound losses . . .  ongoing damage  . . .  uncertainty of the future . . . and the amazing resilience of the human spirit . . . the questions for God . . . the terrible power and mercy of creation . . . the ironies of nuclear disaster . . . the children . . . the mud and debris . . . the grief . . .

And all I can do when I try to pray . . . is to sigh. Deeply.

The lament hidden in a deep sigh is an expression that seems to fit.

But we can’t leave our prayers there. People are in the midst of profound loss, need and unclarity. They will be for a long time. This kind of event calls for a response. But what kind?

We can respond by praying. And by giving financially to assist in caring for those impacted by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. If your own church or denominational group does not have channels for giving and responding already open, then consider visiting World Vision to contribute to the crisis and healing of people and place.

Disasters of such scale, and the immediacy with which they come to our awareness, can provoke us to action. Or they can paralyze us. Discerning what to do, deciding “what kind” of response to make can’t really be accomplished well in the face of such a crisis. We really have to make our choices ahead of time.

Here’s an analogy. (I hope it will make you laugh just a little.) I got some good advice when I was a teenager about making choices about my body and sexual expression. What my youth minister said was that you can’t decide how far you’re going to go in the backseat of a car while you’re in the backseat of a car. (Deep sigh . . . of another kind.) You have to decide in advance how far you’ll go, or if you’ll even get into the backseat of the car. When you decide in advance, you are more likely to keep your commitments. Thanks Ed, for that one.

Here’s the connection I want to make for you. We can’t usually decide how to respond to crisis and disaster of the magnitude we are facing globally in the heat of the crisis or disaster. We have to make some choices and commitments in advance. And we have to practice the way we want to live before the crisis or disaster presents itself. This may contribute to our having the will in the moment to follow through on our promises and commitments.

Here is today’s video . . .

If Not Now

Carrie Newcomer invites us to consider how the moment we are in calls us to act. We need not be paralyzed by the sorrow and suffering of the world. But we need to join hands and discern the way we are going to live . . . so when a “now” appears we don’t miss the opportunity to participate in a miracle, to join human hands with God’s mercy.

If not now? Tell me when . . .