Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Listen. Help them. (UPDATED)

I didn't know what to say when it happened.

If you've paid any attention to the news over the past three days, you know at least something about the disaster in Southern Asia. Tidal waves, tsunamis, have swept over many countries, and there are estimates of 33,000 to as much as 45,000 dead.

The suffering is great. The desolate wails of widows and orphans fill the streets of Sumatra. Mourners clog the alleys and lanes of Madras.

According to the CNN article, Sri Lanka reports more than 20,000 dead so far.

India reports at least 9,500 dead on the southern coast. So far.

Indonesia reports 4,730 dead. So far.

The tiny country of Maldives, with a population just over 300,000, reports 46 dead, and up to 70 still unaccounted for.

(Are you still enjoying your morning coffee?)

The Church must step up and come to the aide of our brothers and sisters in Asia. There is no time to wait. There is no reason to hesitate.

I was reading C. S. Lewis last night. (Have I mentioned how amazing "Mere Christianity" is? Oh, I have? Because it is.) And I came upon this passage.
In the passage where the New Testament says that every one must work, it gives as a reason 'in order that he may have something to give to those in need.' Charity--giving to the poor--is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns... I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There
ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them... For many of us, the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear--fear of insecurity. This must often be recognized as a temptation.
This is something I'm often guilty of. I do not give (and sometimes, I confess, do not tithe) because I'm afraid of not having enough. The reality, of course, is that God is faithful to supply our needs, but we must be equally faithful to be obedient with our money. And that obedience means not only tithing as we are commanded to do, but giving to the poor and desolate, as we are equally commanded to do.

Why do I bring this up? Because the crisis in India is a need, just as the AIDS crisis in Africa is a need. And these are needs that must not be ignored.

Please give what you can--no, more than you think you can spare--to help these people. Show them love.

There is a great list of charities here.

As always, I highly recommend WorldVision.

(I considered being eloquent. I thought about pushing "poignant." I was tempted to tug at your heartstrings. But I chose to be direct. There is no time even for poetry. Only action. So act.)

Update: Almost 60,000. So far. Please help them.

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