Church today was sobering. Our pastor, Mark Driscoll, shared about his trip to Haiti and the purpose for going. Jesus opened doors in order for them all to go, and when they got there, they really had no idea what they were going to do. They wanted to find churches to help, but only knew of one. They had no idea where they were going, and “Grandma Angel” (an old lady who spoke no English, took his arm and lead him into the campus of a church. He turned around to look for her a couple of minutes later and she was gone.) ended up bringing them to the place they were looking for. From there they were able to see several (a dozen maybe) churches in the area that had been destroyed by the earthquake and meet pastors of the churches. These pastors are burying 100, if not more, attendees of their churches. (I think 100 may be a conservative number.)

There was no sugarcoating today. Pastor Mark told us the goary details and we saw the pictures and the video.  It was good.  It was real.  We all left the building the silence and it’s the second time we’ve left Mars Hill on a Sunday without singing to close our service.  It was sobering.  Really sobering.

Pastor Mark met many pastors who were hurting.  Their flock was hurt.  The flock was broken.  Members of their flock were missing or dead.  These pastors are hurting and the buildings are destroyed.  People are walking for miles to attend a church service?  Would we do that if a natural contrastrophe ruined our buildings?  Would we walk miles so that we could go to church?  Have fellowship?  Share our hurt.  Our pain.  Our anger.  Try to help one another heal? 

One pastor was teaching a class when he felt a slight tremor.  He was on the second floor.  He ran outside to see what was going on.  While he was outside the earthquake hit.  His students and his wife were in his class on the second floor.  They all died.  He has four boys.  He went and got his boys, and they are homeless now, motherless and spouseless.   The day Pastor Mark met him, he buried his wife.  While Pastor Mark was talking to him, he asked him, “Why are you smiling?”  His response, “The Lord.”  He is broken.  He is devestated.  He has Jesus, so he has joy.  He knows where his hope lay.  It doesn’t mean he’s not going to wrestle and struggle.  He knows where his hope lies.  He tells people about Jesus and that’s what he’s going to keep doing. 

We left church today heavy hearted.  Heavy for the destruction that people are living in right now.  Heavy for God’s people.  Heavy for His church. 

It is better to go to the house of mourning than go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will aly it to heart.

Sorrow is better then laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

Through saddness and pain we learn.  We grow.  We mature.  We become more like Jesus when our hope is in Him.  Without Him we’re nothing.  The concept of pain and suffering, make no sense.

Pastor Tim said something this morning, before we sang a couple of songs.  He said (and I paraphrase) that when we’re looking at the pictures and video of Haiti it’s easy to feel pity and sadness for them, because of the hell that they’re living in.  The conditions, everything.  But we need to remember, that Jesus saved us from that.  That is our life. Full of broken buildings.  Broken relationships.  Devestation.  Without Jesus, nothing could ever get fixed.  Without Jesus we would be living in devestation all the time.  With Jesus we have hope and we can rebuild. 

Pray for Haiti.  Pray for the churches in Haiti.  Pray for the pastors in Haiti and their flocks.  Pray for people to find hope.  Hope in Jesus.  if you can, help the Church. 

“…for by saddness of face the heart is made glad.” Ecclesiastes 7:3