I have been thinking a lot this week about the existence of evil in our world – or more specifically, all of the things that happen that feel evil or bad to us, things we wish would never happen. Presbyterians don’t often talk about evil forces or the demonic presence in our world, but sometimes I think we should! The passage from Ephesians 6:10-17 that I will be preaching from this Sunday lends itself to this kind of reflection.
The people of Haiti are on my heart and on my mind right now. That country has experienced the assassination of their President, a major earthquake that has killed upwards of 2,000 people, and several tropical storms. It seems like the people of Haiti just keep getting attacked by evil forces.
And the people of Afghanistan are on my heart and on my mind as well. Seeing the news reports from the airport in Kabul bring back memories of news reels from Vietnam as American troops finally left that country after a long military presence. And it breaks my heart to hear the stories of girls and women in Afghanistan who now fear the loss of opportunities for education and meaningful engagement with the world and even fear for their lives.
Also on my heart and on my mind are the school children and their parents in Texas and Tennessee and Florida who are left without the simple protection of mask mandates to shield them from the Delta variant of the coronavirus. The freedom to attend school maskless seems like a small freedom to sacrifice to protect children and school employees from contracting and spreading a preventable illness. And our lawsuits and state-wide threats and political maneuverings around mask mandates and personal freedoms seems frivolous and inconsequential when compared with the freedoms that the people of Haiti and Afghanistan have lost in recent weeks.
Please pray for the people of Haiti and Afghanistan. Please pray for school children, their parents, their teachers and administrators, their bus drivers, their lunch workers, and all who work in public education.