Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sunrise Service

As I walked this morning to the hill where the community sunrise service was to be held, I kept thinking about light. There was light everywhere on my route: streetlights every twenty feet, the gas station all lit up, every building bright. The moon was visible but seemed beside the point. Even the sunrise, it seemed, wouldn't change much; its light was hardly needed.

In Haiti, before the sun rises, it is dark.

My metaphor-making brain wants to jump immediately to spiritual light and darkness, but no. Many people say that about Haiti, that it is a country of spiritual darkness, and that has always struck me as terribly unfair - and more so now. How can you call a country spiritually dark when its people respond to an earthquake that levels its capital city by singing and praising God? I'm not talking about spiritual darkness, but physical darkness.

When the sun comes up in a tent city in Port-au-Prince this morning, as the people meet to celebrate the resurrection, the light will not go unnoticed. It will be brilliant; it will end the terror of the night.

Of course there is spiritual darkness in Haiti. There is spiritual darkness everywhere that humans are. Haiti has no monopoly on it. And where there is spiritual darkness, I pray for Christ's spiritual light. But mostly this morning I am praying for physical needs, for shelter and food and safety - and light. I am praying that these needs will be met for people who are not in spiritual darkness, people who are faithful beyond imagining.

But God is faithful too. This morning the speaker said: "God is faithful not only to the end, but beyond the end."

And there is sadness, such sadness, in Haiti today and among all of us who love that beautiful country and its beautiful people. That, too, is a kind of darkness. We need the light and hope of Easter, and as it comes into the darkness of our grief, we will notice it.

Oh Lord, be faithful beyond the end to the people of Haiti. Provide for them. In their physical and emotional darkness, bring them light. Thank you that for so many, spiritual darkness is not the problem. Thank you that your resurrection was not an ethereal, symbolic one, but a literal, physical raising of your body to new life. Oh Lord, I pray for new life for the city of Port-au-Prince, for the country of Haiti.

The sun rises on another Easter. The light comes into the darkness. I know that, and yet it still seems dark in my heart. He is risen. I know that, and yet there is still a deadness in me. Death has lost its sting. I know that, and yet it still stings quite a bit.

How I need Easter this year! How Haiti needs it! We need the hope and encouragement that it brings. We need resurrection, new life rising from death, beauty from ashes. We need light.

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