I want to you to do me a favour. I’m going to ask you to read something, then to respond and do something. It will only take you a minute and it won’t cost you anything.
1. You should open up Anne Jackson’s site and have a peruse, because I’m going to tell you a story (albeit a short one) and I want you to respond having a sense of who Anne is.
Of course, you’ll be building that impression mostly from the same position I have, as I have never met Anne, although I’ve admired her at a distance for some time.
So the story I’m telling you, is of Anne – who has travelled to several broken, impoverished and crowded places in the world, responding to a sense that God was leading her to go to Haiti.
Big earthquake and colossal devastation. Millions of people around the world trying to comprehend and respond in a reasonable way to this event, in light of their many faiths, beliefs, environments.
The difference is that shortly after Anne sensed the word “Go”… she was offered an opportunity to actually be present.
Seems that some, a vocal but destructive minority, readers of her blog question the importance or relevance or skills that she brings to a place like Haiti in a moment of crisis like this.
But, I have sat tonight, and watched the artists, musicians, actors and culture shapers, such as they are.. perform and write and craft and sing and spend all their available energy in this moment for the sake of Haiti tonight.
I have read the history books and Scriptures and answered “Yes!” in my spirit, when I have heard and seen the “words of the prophets, written on the subway walls”…
For centuries, before social media and the arts became the anchor of popular opinion and culture, the writers, artists, musicians and prophets were found at the center of God’s words to the people.
So when we, as a communal group respond to the artists and prophets of our day singing songs of hope in the midst of despair (Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow & Keith Urban on “Lean on Me”) or words of encouragement to hold on (Jennifer Hudson on “Let It Be”) for hours on telecast, how dare we turn on the writers and voices and say “Who are you, to be present in the midst of this suffering, surely others could be more use than you?!”.
I am horrified. Because of course, our writers, speakers, prophets and voices can always be found in the midst of God’s presence. Tomorrow, I’m going to write about how we gather in a ditigal, satellite world.. but for tonight.. I’m standing up for Anne. Read what people have said and dare to respond..
I ask you genuinely, regardless of whether you’ve heard her name for the first time or the hundredth.. write back and lend her your voice.. because where the artists/writers/thinkers and prophets go… also travels and echoes back the very presence of God, as he speaks to us.
Writers and storytellers, much like journalists, belong in the midst of this suffering – the ongoing call to the work of reconciliation and restoration in this world.. to rebuild.
Read what Anne says. Hear her heart responding and wrestling in those moments before the offer came.
Hear in your head and heart, the Beatles tune “let it be”. Where Elizabeth’s husband responded in disbelief to the announcement of his wife’s miraculous pregnancy, Mary – at the near same time, leant into the will and miraculous wonder of God at work here on Planet Earth and said “Yes, Lord, Let It Be to me, as you have said”.
When Jennifer was singing, she was singing for you. Let it be, as God as said … and may we all be better for it. May the proud close their lips of foolishness and pride. Go into that place and be present, so that God is present there also in your hands, your feet, your words and your love. Be blessed, Haiti, because of Anne. Be blessed, Church, because of Anne.. and may you learn to hold your tongue.
When Sting sings “too many cameras and not enough food”, the cry is for provision. But someone must go, and carry this story back inside them – stories of hope and faith (as if we were so proud as to think we couldn’t learn something from the faith of these people).
2. I’d love you to go to Anne’s site, and comment – no rebukes, no arguments, but simply lend your support. The more the better, and pray for her as she goes, knowing that her stories and words and pictures have the capacity to change something in us. Pray for the rest of the team going with her. Pray.. “Let it be…” that whatever the Lord has in mind, will grow, shape and change all of us, as a result of this trip.
I’m really serious. I don’t even care if you comment on this post, but for goodness sake – please stand up to the infantile and cruel attitude of people tearing her down over at http://www.flowerdust.net. Lend your voice because it means something in the bigger picture… and pay attention as she journies to Haiti.
Thanks for your time.