The devastation in Haiti is incomprehensible. The earthquake that hit on January 12th measured 7.0 on the Richter scale — a force equaling thirty-five atomic bombs. It shook buildings into rubble, leaving three million refugees and at least 50,000 dead. [Update: four days after the ‘quake the estimate has risen to 200,000 dead — the worst natural disaster in history.] “Under the crumbled buildings lie the dying, calling out to be saved.” It’s beyond imagination. It screams in the stunned silence of my mind, starts tears coursing whenever I see the images on television.
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, a musician in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has composed a hymn that helps to express our pain and our faith.
In Haiti, There is Anguish
(Sung to the tune “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” – St. Christopher)
In Haiti, there is anguish that seems too much to bear;
A land so used to sorrow now knows even more despair.
From city streets, the cries of grief rise up to hills above;
In all the sorrow, pain and death, where are you, God of love?
A woman sifts through rubble, a man has lost his home,
A hungry, orphaned toddler sobs, for she is now alone.
Where are you, Lord, when thousands die—the rich, the poorest poor?
Were you the very first to cry for all that is no more?
O God, you love your children; you hear each lifted prayer!
May all who suffer in that land know you are present there.
In moments of compassion shown, in simple acts of grace,
May those in pain find healing balm, and know your love’s embrace.
Where are you in the anguish? Lord, may we hear anew
That anywhere your world cries out, you’re there– and suffering, too.
And may we see, in others’ pain, the cross we’re called to bear;
Send out your church in Jesus’ name to pray, to serve, to share.
Tune: Frederick Charles Maker, 1881
Text: Copyright © 2010 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Permission is given for use by those who support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.