Monday, January 17, 2011

So You Want to Go Back to Egypt

You might think that this is a Martin Luther King blog being that today is the day we remember his birth. Maybe it is..but that's not where I started going with it.
In the book of Exodus we read of the story of Moses. Seeing that his people were burdened under the cruel yoke of slavery he obeyed God and set out to free his people. The trials he faced were grave and dangerous. But he did succeed and the victory over Pharaoh and slavery were won. That was a good thing.
After such a long reign of slavery the people wandered in the desert following Moses whom they seemed to expect could fulfill all their needs. As they wandered they began to grumble and complain.Things got hard and they started to reinvent God. Questioning Moses they stated that they wanted to go back to Egypt. At least in Egypt they knew what to expect. They would eat and work and sleep. They would not have to make decisions. They would know what the future would hold. The past, the present and the future were all the same. As years past they forgot about the cruel edicts of Pharaoh. Time will do that. As the younger members of the tribe grew they had no recollection of the cruelty that their fathers knew. They just wanted to find a place that wasn't so hard. A place where they could eat and sleep and not have to figure it all out.They became irate with Moses and were willing to give up the freedom. They were tired.
Haiti was a slave nation. The first to win it's independence.
Yesterday Baby Doc arrived back in Haiti. He was exiled for 25 years because of crimes against the people of his country. The people of Haiti are tired. They are hungry and they are sick. During the time of dictator Baby Doc the country of Haiti prospered. Education became more available. It was an easier time in some ways. But it was not a free country. If Baby Doc didn't like you died. Not just you but you and your family.
It has been suggested that should Baby Doc return to home land that he would face prosecution for his crimes against his people.
With this in mind it is hard to imagine the scene of his return. The county has rallied. The old and especially the young are excited about his return and what his might possibly mean to this beaten broken nation.
I wonder myself... I can only hope that if that is the case that this man known as Baby Doc will have had this quarter century change his heart. If not I pray that Haiti will choose to push on to the Promise Land and not go back to Egypt.
Today we rember Martin Luther King. He spoke the words of Moses. Those words echo in my mind.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fasting by Default

My church (Liberty Christian Fellowship) recently announced that we as a body were being encouraged to start fasting and praying on Jan 1st. I know that there is a bibical mandate to fast. I know that it is worthwhile on many levels.( ) I also knew that being in Haiti starting Jan 1st would give me little or no control over meal choices. Eating is very different here. When you rise in the morning you find that theree are already people preping your meals for the day. In the States if someone is up cooking before 6 AM it is because there is some feast being observed. Here, in Haiti, it is because someone is sifting the rice to remove stones or bugs or whatever other foreign objects may make their way into the rice bag.
I had been considering the Daniel Fast.This is close. Today for example we had rice for breakfast, rice and bean sause and a chicken wing for lunch and noodles for dinner. We had water to drink.Don't misunderstand I am not at all complaining. I am a big fan of both rice and pasta. The cooks do a wonderful job with seasoning. As an American I am used to more variety. So for me, three meals a day without any in-between snacks seems like a fast. What we eat in this home is far more than many of the population in this town/country. The children do not complain and most eat every bite. Often you will see the children sharing among themselves. The one who gets to scrape the bottom of the rice pot is always delighted much as an American child who might get to lick the batter when their mom bakes a cake. Nothing is wasted and the food that is left over goes to the security guards. seems more right. Food for the stomach and not the stomach for food..or something like that. Food is more of a tool and less of an entertainment.
This is my 4th time to Haiti in less than 2 years. I have not quite wrapped my head around it yet. But it does strike me somewhat ironic that what I might consider a fast many would consider a feast..Just something to chew on for a while..

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Take this cup and drink of it."

Today I had a new church experience. I took communion with Haitian believers. In many ways it was the same. The bread and the cup were passed. Prayers were said and scriptures were read. We took the bread and drank the wine. That is where the difference was. We drank wine. Not sweetened grape juice. Wine..a bitter wine that had a bit of a punch.
As I sat there a thought crossed my mind. To enter into communion with Jesus is not about something that 'tastes good or goes down easy'. To truly be in communion with Christ we must be willing to drink the cup that He drank. We must be willing to enter into His suffering. It is about a total denying of self and accepting of the trials that we face because we are His followers.
I wondered why we changed this in our American churches. Why do we need to sugar coat so much. Why do are we afraid to truly follow the example of Jesus? We have not known the suffering of the Haitian people. We have not known their sorrows and their trials. There is a sweetness in the biterness of this cup. The cross of our Christ is not pretty or sweet. It is bitter and hard to sw