While I appreciate the pronouncements from those who mean well and are saying the right thing, I think what I prefer the most are the deeply pastoral remarks I’m hearing from active parish pastors. Let me share but one from a colleague in the ministry who shared these remarks with his congregation. Our church body, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, has a deep heart-tie to the people of Haiti, in the form of mission and ministry in the country. Many of us have been blessed to attend seminary with mighty men of God from this impoverished nation. What witnesses they are. Now we mourn them and grieve with them at the loss of their loved one. So, forgive me for my harsh reaction to Mr. Robertson, but my contempt for him is overwhelmed by my love for these people and those who serve them, rather than grandstanding windbags like Robertson. This is a message sent to his congregation by Pastor Larry Beane, in Gretna, Louisiana.
Dear members and friends of Salem:
As people who understand what it is like to suffer the results of a terrible natural disaster, we’re in a position to empathize with the people of Haiti as they dig out from the recent earthquake and its aftershocks. Thousands of lives hang in the balance this very minute. Ham radio operators in Haiti are just now beginning to make post-earthquake contact with the outside world. Rescue workers are making their way to Port-au-Prince any way they can. And we know that this is just the beginning of the rebuilding of this country and the lives of its people.
We can help.
Even if you’re like me and unable to physically go to Haiti to help the people there onsite, you can do two things: pray and send money. If you think back to the desperate times after Katrina, you will recall what a great blessing it was when people traveled long distances to come to help us and when we received financial gifts to keep us going until we could get back on our feet. A lot of people selflessly donated money and time to help us. Now is our chance to show the same Christian compassion and charity to our neighbors.
While I was at seminary, we had many Haitian students and their families on campus as Haitian men studied for the ministry, prepared to do mission work, and worked towards the establishment of a Haitian seminary. This was a project especially dear to the late Prof. Kurt Marquart, who took a special interest in our Haitian brothers and sisters. As of now, many of our classmates are unaccounted for. Please keep them and all earthquake victims in your prayers.
You may have heard or seen Pat Robertson’s claim that the Haitians brought this disaster upon themselves owing to some pact with the devil. This is simply nonsense, and it is a horrible witness of the Christian faith. Our Lord’s response to Robertson’s false theology can be found here and here. The same kind of things were said about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The Church is to be a beacon of hope in such times, and we are to be unconditionally compassionate and loving toward these the least of the Lord’s brethren – even as the Lord Jesus shows compassion, grace, and mercy to us.
Click here for a video from LCMS World Relief and Human Care director Rev. Matthew Harrison. Click here for a radio interview with Pastor Harrison on Issues, Etc. Click here to see how you can help, whether giving your time and talent, or by sending much needed money to help LCMS World Relief and Human Care carry out its humanitarian work.
To make a financial donation to LCMS World Relief and Human Care for relief work in Haiti, click here. And of course, please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.
Lord, have mercy.