One year ago, on the night of September 7, 2017, an 8.2 magnitude earthquake roughly roused us from our slumbers and sent us running for the streets, patios, stairs, and open spaces. The earthquake left many communities in rubble and left all of us waking in the middle of the night fearing another aftershock.
In a worship service on the evening of September 7, 2018, we commemorated the people who gave their time and whole selves to the recovery process: doctors and nurses, firefighters and police, women who cooked meals for 1000 people daily at local refugee camps, volunteers who came from all over North America to help rebuild, and pastors and counselors who accompanied the mourning communities. Acknowledging the people who gave everything they had after the earthquake helps us to restore the ruins—both physical and emotional—and begin to heal. It also puts the spotlight on the people that have been in the background, taking care of all the other people in need, often leaving their own needs on the backburner. In acknowledging their work, we turn the tables to care for the caretakers and heal the healers.
The worship service looked not only to the past at all that had changed in the year since the earthquake but looked to the future. One pastor who spoke at the service put it simply when she said, “God’s work of art is all of you working together to make the best of all the fear and destruction that has been lived in the past year.” God is still working and God will continue to work with us. As we remember that terrible night and the months following it, we acknowledge that new life has grown from it, and that our communities have become stronger and more unified as a result. Together we are working towards a stronger future.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Dear God, as we continue to restore our communities after tragedy and begin to heal our souls after trauma, we remember that you are a God of hope. We ask you to continue to walk with us through this difficult time and to remind us that you have a future in mind and are constantly pulling us towards it. Help us to continue to heal and to take care of the caretakers and to remember that there is always hope for the future. Thank you for being our God of hope. Amen.
Cara McKinney serves with Melel Xojobal in Mexico. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.