Today’s Word from Minister of Music, Karl Olsen…
Good Monday morning to you all!
I hope you’re well, and patiently staying safe during this crisis, even while anxiously peering toward the future for signs of a healthy re-opening! We’ve witnessed your continuous acts of generosity and love toward your neighbors in this time, and it is a beautiful thing to see, even if not all that surprising—for these are the hallmarks of what we’ve come to know as the Trinity Family. Thanks—and carry on!
Our Lund Olsen family has had a personal connection with the country and people of Haiti for 16 years—ever since the adoption of two bundles of fire, energy, love, trial, and joy named Sandra and Jean. What a life—what an experience—what a gift!
We’ve come to understand a little more of the people and struggles of Haiti along the way, with several trips there to serve as we are able, twice with youth and adults from Trinity on mission trips with Experience Mission. Our plan was to return there this spring, but the situation in Haiti even before the virus, made it too risky. Our primary contact there, Josh Gray, sent a message from Haiti recently, where he lives with his wife. His message essentially provided some perspective on our struggles in this COVID time.
The majority of Haiti’s population live in situations that we would only describe as slums. Packed tightly together, with little or no running water—and not clean water at that—sanitation is a difficult challenge. And social distancing is virtually impossible. COVID-19 is deadly there, and it is deadly here. Here’s Josh…
“Many of us are shaken up right now as the imminent possibility of death for ourselves or someone we love seems more real than ever before.
“Perhaps in this moment, the resilient people of Haiti’s ghettos have something to teach us. They live every day with this sense of vulnerability, yet they wake up each morning and choose to laugh, to find joy, and to fight for survival.
“They do not allow themselves to be ruled by fear because if they did they would be crippled by it every day.
“Let us never forget that every single human life has infinite value. The pain of losing a loved one is the same pain whether you’re rich and powerful or whether you’re fighting to survive in the ghetto.”
This virus is just one more thing. More, in a bit… But now, a quick pivot. In our hymnal (that red book we rarely use in worship but is right there at our fingertips!), the hymns are divided into sections. Baptism, Gathering, Stewardship, Community in Christ, and more. One short section is the Lament section. It has all of eight hymns. How Long, O God? In Deepest Night. Once We Sang and Danced. Bring Peace to Earth Again. You, Dear Lord. O God, Why are You Silent. When Pain of the World Surrounds Us. That’s seven. You’ll have to search for number eight when we are allowed to gather together again…!
Those are titles many of which the poor of Haiti would feel very at home singing—and in this time, some of them would fit for us. But…the Lament section is followed by the Justice, Peace section. First hymn there is God of Grace and God of Glory. “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour.” Truly appropriate for us all. Three sections later we have the Trust, Guidance section. One of the early hymns there is My Life Flows on in Endless Song, or How Can I Keep From Singing.
From what I know of the people of Haiti, there would be songs of Lament. But they would also heartily lift their voices singing of the wonder and grace of God, and proclaiming in the words of that last hymn “…no storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging. Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing.”
May your days be filled with joy, grace and love. May we soon be able to gather safely, and sing together once more!
Here’s a link to Josh Gray’s article: https://hopetorise.org/bl…/social-distancing-in-haitis-slums
Blessings and peace to you. Sing on!
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