Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, In Heavenly Love Abiding

Today we celebrated Christ's resurrection here in Haiti. It was a beautiful day, a day of praising God, a day of remembering, a day of spending time with friends and family.

One of the things I remembered was last Easter, which my children and I spent in the United States. Today was very different: much warmer, for one thing. I rejoiced in the sun baking my shoulders as we stood outside after church. Last year I shivered at the sunrise service.

In the afternoon we attended a hymn sing with a group that hadn't been together since the earthquake. I have written here before about how music spoke to me after the earthquake at a time when I could hardly read the Bible or pray. The same thing happened this afternoon, and I cried as I remembered God's faithfulness over the past fifteen months, the way He has provided for me and loved me.

In Heavenly love abiding,
No change my heart shall fear,
And safe is such confiding,
For nothing changes here.
The storm may roar without me,
My heart may low be laid;
But God is round about me,
And can I be dismayed?

Here's the rest. (Oh, and we sang this one too.)

Today I had on a necklace that a friend (someone I know online and have never met) made me last year and sent me for my birthday. It was a thoughtful gift because when I hastily packed my evacuation bag, I didn't put any jewelery in it. I don't wear much jewelery ever, but I found I missed having a necklace. The one my friend sent matched what I was wearing when I opened the package, and I put it on and wore it almost every day for weeks. Today it felt like an artifact from another world, almost as though I had traveled in time and brought something back from the past. In some ways, singing with the little group who had gathered today felt normal, as though the last fifteen months hadn't happened. But I knew that wasn't true; I knew we were all different now. Every one of us had faced the storm in the last year, and found God round about us. The necklace reminded me of what I lost, and what I gained, since January 12th.

As we drove home, we saw tents, tents, tents. There is still much to be done to clean up from the earthquake and to return people's lives to normal. Will the city still look this way next Easter, so dilapidated and wrecked? Will there still be 680,000 people living under canvas? (That's the latest estimate, from this article, which talks about the plight of the camp-dwellers. Even those who have moved on from the tents are not necessarily living in good conditions.)

Christ is Risen. Hallelujah! And at the same time, oh, life is hard. I fear I can all too easily be dismayed, in spite of the songs that I sing. But I continue, every day, to abide in heavenly love. Safe is such confiding.

1 comment:

Janet said...

It's been such an eventful year -- and yet, not eventful enough in some ways in Haiti. So many tents!

A hymn sing. Sigh. "Worship songs" have pretty much paved hymns over in our church, and it makes me sad for my children not to have them as a part of their church experience. I can teach them here at home, and they're still great. But it's not the same as singing them in fellowship.