Sunday, August 16, 2015

"How Great Thou Art"

There are some things that transcend the brokenness of humanity.  
This past week has been filled with reminders of the walls that divide us.  More times than I could count I've had to shake my head and shrug helplessly in paralyzing inability to respond to the Creole of the six year old child standing in front of me.   The desperate struggle of members of the Cite Soleil community to get to the front of the water-truck line was in stark contrast to the long hot showers and cold ice-water most of us are accustomed to having readily available anytime we desire.  The wounded children and tired mothers crammed into The General Hospital with flies swarming, cardboard mattresses, and hardly any staff sat in silent resentment of the contentious conversation that continues to surround the Affordable Care Act.  There is a lot more than distance that separates us from the Haitians.

Still, this morning we shared the church at Grace Village with the Haitian people as we gathered to worship together.  As the band led "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus" and then "How Great Thou Art" in Creole, I sang along in English.  There was something exceptionally beautiful about this communion of differences: "Then sings my soul, my savior God to thee: "how great thou art, how great thou art".  
Our souls sang in a shared tongue that transcended language: "How great thou art! How great thou art!"
This soul-song continued as the congregation continued with prayers whose words I couldn't understand.  Only "Jesus" and "Alleluia" made sense to my ears, but the soul-song: "How great thou art!" transcended words.  For this Jesus suffered and died: even the most desperate and suffering are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  
More than race, language, or economics can ever divide us, Christ unites us.  
To be "in Christ" is to claim these brothers and sisters as my own.  To "take up the cross" is to share in their pain and claim it as my responsibility.

(Pause in the writing)

I paused because it was pouring outside and we went out to dance in the rain.  After a little salsa dancing we went up to the veranda to dive across the water-covered tiles like a slip and slide.  We were hot and dirty and the rain was glorious.  I imagine the kids (maybe the adults too) in Cite Soleil were out in the streets playing in the rain as well.  When the floodgates of heaven open up the rain falls on the rich and poor alike.  This is the way of God's grace; it's poured out on all of us.  

It would have been beautiful to dance with them in the streets of Cite Soleil.  I imagine that's what heaven will be like.  
The walls of race, nation, language, politics, and economics are washed away as we dance in God's grace, every voice singing together: "How Great Thou Art!  How Great Thou Art!"  
Haiti is filled with things that should cause us to despair, but we've also seen plenty of reasons to hope.  Faith is the confidence that the God in whom we hope will overcome the reality that could lead us to despair.  The people of Haiti have faith.  In spite of everything, they have a powerful, passionate faith.  They have a faith that transcends everything in the world that could lead us to despair.  They have faith in Christ who has conquered the world.

I pray that you and I might grow into that same faith.


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