The disaster that has recently befallen Christchurch is a genuine tragedy with so many lives lost and so many lives turned upside down. Literally, but also metaphorically, people are shaken, upset, anxious and worried, with any sense of peace they may have had in life evaporated. As a Christ follower my firm conviction is that God is there and can be found in the midst of the storm. Many (I know I have, and perhaps you have) will have experienced something of the divine stirring their hearts in the last 24 hours. We have all been reminded of the gift as well as the frailty of life, the importance and significance of others, both loved ones and complete strangers. What really matters in life is rearranged and realigned as we watch images of the grieving, the broken, and the displaced, and discover that so much of what we do is in pursuit of the temporal and the insignificant. We are reminded of how blessed we are to live in a nation where aid, support, encouragement, rescue and concern is so freely given and available. For those of us who have not lost a loved one, our home, our livelihood, or access to the everyday necessities of life we are thankful. For those that have our hearts and prayers are extended to you.
One of the ways that Christians for centuries have responded to the stirring of God in their hearts is to fast. When we sense his knocking, sometimes the most appropriate way to open ones heart to God and to allow the Holy Spirit to speak and work in our lives is to fast. By choosing to go without we acknowledge that we do not simply depend on food for life, but rather our dependence is on our Creator. By choosing to go without when we do not have to, in some small way we identify with and stand in solidarity with those who at the moment do not have a choice.
If you have felt God stirring your heart in some way or another as a result of the travesty in Christchurch in the last 24 hours my encouragement would be to join me in fasting tomorrow. As we fast our thoughts and prayers will be with those whose lives were yesterday changed forever. As we go hungry we are reminded of the hungry. That which we would normally have spent on food could be donated to Redcross or some other aid agency or organisation working in Christchurch. In a small way, even though we cannot be in Christchurch we can be with Christchurch. God is in Christchurch. God’s heart is for the hurting, the lost, and the broken in Christchurch.
Join me in responding to God’s stirring of our hearts in the midst of tragedy and fast tomorrow; 24/02/2011.