As difficult as it was last week for all of us to endure ice and cold and power outages, destruction to trees and cars and homes, our inconvenience seems to be just that – an inconvenience – when we hear stories of the devastation in Turkey and Syria, the destruction of homes and buildings and neighborhoods, and the loss of thousands of lives, all caused by the ravages of earthquakes.
I don’t know much about Syria or Turkey. I know some of you have travelled there. But I do know that human beings are grieving the loss of loved ones, the loss of community, the loss of livelihood, the loss of any sense of safety or security that might have remained in nations torn by civil war.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is already responding to the overwhelming need in both Syria and Turkey, regardless of the nationality or political opinions or religious affiliations of those who need help. Their website offers this Prayer in the time of Earthquake, written by Laurie A. Kraus, Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, following the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal:
Holy One, whose desire for all peoples is wholeness, life abundant, and peace: Hear us as we pray in sorrow for lives lost and communities shattered by earthquakes and aftershocks.
As your servant Elijah fled for his life into the wilderness and found bread for the journey, may survivors of this disaster find, in the outpouring of their neighbors’ care, shelter, sustenance and companionship in the midst of horrors.
In the sheer silence that follows
When the cries for help are stilled and
the cameras and the news cycle have moved on to
Calling us to bear witness
Calling us to remember
Calling us to bring ourselves to
A ministry of prayerful presence and potent generosity.
Let us have an answer when your voice inquires,
“What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Let us answer with our prayers
Let us answer with generous gifts
Let us join together, an international community of healing,
To rebuild, to restore, and in time, to rejoice
That in a world that suffers, Light still shines,
And darkness and dust shall not overcome it.
In the name of the Human One we pray, Amen.