Saturday, January 16, 2010

Angel Unaware

When I was in grade shcool, my classmate Karen did a book report on Dale Evans' (Roy Rogers' wife) book Angel Unaware. It was Evans' story of their grief and journey of faith at the birth and death of their "blue baby". Perhaps the baby's umbilical cord was kinked or crushed during the final stages of labor and delivery. The book moved Karen deeply.

Two marvelous young women, Rachel and Molly, recent grads of the University of Portland, were in Haiti with Friends of Orphans. They were housed on the fifth floor of a building that pancaked. Just minutes before the quake, Rachel went to the seventh (top) floor to use a computer. She was injured but pulled from the rubble quickly and survived. Her sister back here in the States said that she must have had "some angels looking out for her".

Molly two floors down did not survive.

What about Molly who had been there longer and had done more of Christ's work? No angels for her? Angels playing favorites, rolling the dice? Angels ordered to back off because Christ said, "No, I want her more than her family and the orphans. I get my way, 'cuz I'm God."

We can make no sense of Haiti. Pat Robertson can't make sense of Haiti either. Pat Robertson can't make sense of Pat Robertson. The only thing I can look at that even begins to speak to the grief and inexplicability of it all is Rob Bell's short film in the NOOMA series. It's called Open. It took 50 volunteer extras with their cars, 6 police officers, 5 firemen, 4 EMT's, 3 cruisers, 2 ambulances, 2 wrecked cars, 1 Jaws of Life and a hospital to create the scenes.

See it if you can. See it several times, and see it with someone(s) you can pray with afterward. You'll need to.

And the other thing I can look at and read is Psalm 44, that "unfinished" Psalm because it ends with the speaker shaking their fist at the sky, screaming at God and falling to their knees weeping. It's unfinished, because we don't get to hear God's reply in words and deeds. The final five verses go like this:

...Because of you we are being killed all day long,
and accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
Awake, and do not cast us off forever!
Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For we sink down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up, come to our help.
Redeem us for the sake of you steadfast love.


The psalmist says it feels like God is asleep, the angels unaware. Yes, it feels that way. And this is acceptable speech for worship of our God who created all things. It's in the Bible, the word of God. It's inspired.

So let the screams be heard and the tears flow. . .


Pastor Roger

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