Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What's for breakfast?

Do you know where Myanmar is? Are you even aware that Myanmar is the name of the country that used to be known as Burma? I didn't think so. In case you're wondering what this is about, let me assure you that I'm not remotely interested in giving you a geography lesson this morning (National Geographic channel does a pretty decent job of that already). I'm talking to you about Myanmar this morning because of the devastating tragedy that has hit that largely Tibetan Bhuddist nation. They've been in the news quite a bit lately. The collective eyes of the world have been focused on the iron-handed tactics of their military Junta against protesting monks who are simply protesting against the continued oppression of the citizens of that nation.

Four days ago Myanmar was struck by the unimaginable tragedy of a freak cyclone that ravaged homes, temples, and lives. The report (consigned to a small corner of the page on msnbc.com), suggests that there are already 15,000 reported dead and still 30,000 people unaccounted for so far. What's that got to do with you, you might be asking? Well that's exactly the point. It has absolutely nothing to do with us and so we don't really recognize how devastating it is for that many people to die from one disaster. No food, no running water, no electric power, no real news as to whether your lost family members are dead or alive, an oppressive military dictatorship with an almost reluctant response to the disaster... wow! What if they were your brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts... how would you respond then? The truth is, if you're a Christian, they are your brothers and sisters, and the love of God compels us to act.

This is not meant to put you on a guilt trip (I'm patently aware of how sensitive people tend to be about feeling judged or criticized), it is simply meant to call your attention to something that grieves the heart of God. Many of those listed as dead, may never have had a personal encounter with Jesus and so their lives have amounted to little more than just an existence. In the wake of the disaster, they have left behind relatives that are searching for answers. As Christians, we have direct access to the One who is the Answer, and so if we can do nothing else, we can pray! As we spare a few moments of our day in prayer for the survivors and for the victims families and friends, we might do well to remember that, while we had access to the breakfast of our choice today, many of them have not eaten or drunk clean water in days. Will you spare a moment and pray?