Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
We talk a lot in church about the good news, but do we actually take it to others?
I’m thinking about the horrific devastation that has taken place in Haiti since yesterday and the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been taken away by the terrifying earthquake. It’s one of the poorest countries in the world and it’s right on our front porch. How can we talk about good news in the church when our neighbors are dying in poverty, squalor, and cataclysm?
Our town was raging last night about the sudden departure of our football coach. People were out on the streets of Knoxville angry and furious, feeling betrayed and embittered. This morning our local newspaper has devoted many pages to football. But it’s just a game; the devastating earthquake in Haiti is a disastrous reality.
If we’re actually serious about the good news of the Gospel, then we will mobilize our churches to begin collecting money and supplies for the devastated people of Haiti. The good news that they need right now is to know that they are not isolated in their grief and that they are not cast off by the rest of the world. These people are amongst the poorest on earth and right at this moment we need to stop focusing on our own little problems and insignificant worries. We need to show them compassion and love. We need to embrace them in their darkest time. We need to comfort, support, and rebuild their lives.
This coming Sunday, I’m going to ask our congregation to hold a special offering for the people of Haiti. Our first response will be to send money to buy and ship the supplies, food, and medicine that are desperately needed. We’ll do this through the Presbyterian Disaster Agency so that help can get there quickly. Then we’ll approach the Red Cross and other relief agencies to see what supplies we can gather that will help.
That’s how the good news of Jesus Christ operates. In the midst of death, there is the promise of resurrection. At a time of despair, there is hope.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, what can we do to help Your people in Haiti? How can we show them the good news of Your love? Grant us the focus to use our resources and our money to alleviate as much suffering as we can. Allow us opportunities to restore and rebuild this nation. In Your Holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to help the Haitian people now, you can give online to the Presbyterian Disaster Agency at the following link: http://www.pcusa.org/give/online/projectSelectAction.do?numberString=DR000064