Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's our obligation?

Haiti was hit by a massive quake earlier this week. The loss and devastation is heart rending. Aid has been coming in but it's a logistical nightmare trying to get the aid to the people who need it. At times like this, I'm reminded of the verse from Leviticus, "Do not stand on the blood of your neighbor." (19:16) Don't idly watch as your neighbor bleeds. Don't profit from your neighbor's suffering either. Like Christopher Plummer's character did in "Inside Man." He said, "When there's blood on the streets, buy property."

Are the Haitians our neighbors? If so, what can we do for them? Some of you might answer to pray for them. Prayers go from the heart to God. And it's said that God hearkens unto our prayers. But He doesn't always answer them as we would like. Nor does a prayer by itself build a house, clean up rubble, or provide food, clothing and medicine. A prayer is basically words. To provide food, clothing, shelter, medicine, comfort, companionship, one must physically go and do. And I ask, can we? How?

There is suffering throughout the world on a daily basis. The quake in Haiti is a recent example. But there are millions throughout the world who don't have enough to eat or are homeless or jobless or need medical aid but cannot afford it. What shall we do for them?

Is it all too much? So I ask, what's our obligation. What are we to do? If our circumstances are such that we cannot lend aid and comfort, are we still obligated to do something? And what would that something be? Money? To whom? Will it get to the people who need it?

I wonder what we are supposed to do if prayer and money seem questionable responses at best.

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