Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
I am sure that many of you, like myself, have found yourselves startled and deeply grieved by the devastation in Nepal. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the capital city of Kathmandu on April 25, and—as recovery efforts continue—so far more than 4,000 are numbered among the dead. In the face of such utter destruction, despair and hopelessness can follow quickly.
As Christians, perhaps the most common response to such an event is to ask, “Where is God?” Why did such a thing happen? In our search for seeking answers, I am reminded of the Prophet Elijah’s experience searching for God. He is told:
“’Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after
the fire a sound of sheer silence….Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19:11-13)
The Lord was not in the earthquake; the Lord was not in any of the destructive forces. But the Lord was in what followed. The response that follows is where we find God in such a tragedy. In the face of such suffering and loss of life, we find the God who entered our lives and suffered as a human standing alongside those facing unimaginable pain and loss. We find the God who brought life out of death and light out of darkness standing alongside those who move forward in painful grief, one day at a time. And we find the God who gave us an Advocate and a commandment to love calling us to stand up and help Nepal.
How can you help? Pray: for those affected, and those who have lost love ones. For the Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran World Relief emergency teams on the ground, who are standing with the people and communities affected. Give: Your gifts to Lutheran Disaster Response, designated for “Nepal Area Earthquake,” are used in full (100%) to assist those directly impacted. Both the Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran World Relief already had offices and a presence in Nepal, and are poised to work with those actually there to meet the most pressing needs.
St. Paul’s has designated envelopes, with Lutheran Disaster Response stickers that can be used for any contributions. Checks can be made out to St. Paul’s Church” with either “Nepal Earthquake” or “Where needed most” in the memo line.
Recovery will take time, and our prayers and resources will be needed in Nepal long after they are gone from our television screens. As a people of the resurrection, we proclaim that life is stronger than death, and we will walk with Nepal in prayer and through our partner agencies as they rise from the ashes of the grave into the morning of hope.