the last days

22 04 2010

We call it the ground. We talk about being ‘grounded’. We mean stable. The ground is solid, immovable. Solid as a , well, rock. Immovable as rock-hard simile. Jesus would have won no prizes for walking on ground. Anyone can do that.

It’s disconcerting though, if you think about it, to discover that the ground which feels solid is actually a thin crust floating on molten rock. Clinging desperately like the skin of an orange, the thin crust of rock only a tectonic shift away from a split worse than Take That in 1996.

That split, of course, leads to dramatic things. Rifts, volcanoes, earthquakes. Pompeii, Krakatoa.  This was always my favourite subject at school.

I was awestruck by the huge destructive energy released.
I was awestruck by the huge creative energy released.

The inter-play between destruction and creativity, the danger and the benefits, the destruction of  mountains – I climbed Mt Elgon in Uganda, one of Africa‘s tallest peaks until the top blew off; and the creation of new land, like the Caribbean islands. Like Haiti. The risks people take living in the extremely fertile ground surrounding a volcano, knowing that very thing which brings the benefits can also destroy. It may, it may not…

It is no surprise that in days gone by people thought that earthquakes and volcanoes were caused by the angry gods, and even why otherwise sane Christians see these things as judgement or the beginning of the last days. They are terrible, terrifying; yet entirely natural, wonderful, beautiful, creative.

interesting, hey

Many people have been suffering over the last days, stranded abroad with airspace abandoned to volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull. A volcano under a glacier! Brilliant! Who’d have thought it! But this has had a dramatic effect on families, holidays, workplaces, shops and no doubt “the economy” will have to wrote another sick-note to its mum. I know people who have been stranded abroad with young children, and whilst there may initially be a novelty, that very soon wears off. It reminds us that we are at the mercy of the elements, in a way that we usually insulate ourselves from. A good change in perspective. As people come home from abroad and things settled down, we welcome them.

interesting, hey

Home? People can go home? Imagine now that you are sitting in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It is now exactly 100 days since the earthquake that devastated the city, already one of the poorest countries on the planet. The effects of that are far greater than a few tourists having an extended stay in an airport and some overpaid footballers having to get on (god forbid) a train with ordinary folks. It is wonderful that the VAVs (Volcanic Ash Victims) (yes, I know) can go home; it is terrible that in Haiti so many have no home to go to. More than a million. A million!

What would you do if your home was destroyed, there was no insurance or welfare state or running water? Oh, and a million others were in the same plight.

This is a plea. If you think the Government in the UK has been slow to help the VAVs; if you think more should have been done to help them; if you think money should have been spent to get them home sooner, can I suggest something. Click here for the Disasters Emergency Committee and donate to help in Haiti. Because the last few days have been horrendously inconvenient and uncomfortable for millions, but nothing can compare to the last 100 days in Haiti, especially now the rains have started.

Tectonic activity is not a sign of God‘s anger or destruction, or ‘the last days’. Because the ‘end-times’ are here. Living amongst the present, the resurrection, the great hope, the thing that was meant to happen at the end has happened now, in Jesus.  It is our task to live that, to show that, to offer that to the world. That is a sign of the last days, the end times – hope, generosity, life, self-sacrifice. The buds bursting from the cracked pavements. May we be generous, grace-full and hope-full, inspired by these last few days, to help people recovering from the last 100 days.

EDIT: discovered today there is a single released this Sunday raising money for Haiti, featuring many well-known Christian crooners and hippety-hoppers… watch the video here, and download if you want… personally it’s a bit waily for me, so you may choose to donate without downloading…!

This is the old official one from ‘secular’ folks….

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2 responses

23 04 2010

This is so true mate people really need a sense or perspective! It seems to be the case that if it isn’t happening to me I don’t care. Media coverage is as much to blame if they are only interested for a couple of weeks then the coverage stops, so it drifts out of peoples minds. Somehow this needs to change!!

Sorry for the rant but thats just what I think

23 04 2010

I agree, it’s amazing really that no media made the connection between the 2 events; and the only place I came across that referred to the 100 days since the Haiti earthquake was the Today programme on Radio 4. Shame! So, it’s up to us to remember all by ourselves!

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