Recently our adult education class at Calvary Presbyterian Church has been studying the difficult subject of genocide. We have included the Syrian refugee crisis and the forced famine in the Sudan as part of this subject. It is very sobering to look into the various genocide events throughout history. It is depressing to consider the motivations of human beings who advance such dreadful actions upon innocent people. The lust for power and money seem to have driven despots to act in horrific ways.
After two weeks in this class, most of us felt a need to pull out of the dark places, to learn from our past and find ways to move forward. I found myself searching Scripture for answers. Scripture has many references to the need to protect and act on behalf of those who become victims of unjust actions. Psalm 82 is a plea for justice. In this psalm, the writer invokes a plea to God on behalf of those who suffer injustice. “Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 46 gives encouragement when we are faced with overwhelming trouble. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. …The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
In the New Testament, we gain some further evidence that God acts on our behalf. “… in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.” This is good news and it is the basis for the good works we are to do in his name.
While none of us can hope to reverse these trends toward violence by individual efforts, a lot can be accomplished by coming together for common purposes. After all, look at the many things we do in Enumclaw to benefit people in need. We have Plateau Outreach Ministries, Helping Hand, Enumclaw Food Bank and backpack programs, just to mention a few. I say this because we are already stepping up to respond to other persons’ needs. These actions upon the part of caring people demonstrate that dropping the proverbial rock in a pool of water can have ripple effects; in these cases, good ripple effects.
The challenge we face remains when we think about the inhumanity of situations that cause people to flee their homeland, suffer from extreme hunger or remain homeless. While our small group has not yet come up with a plan to reach out to those who suffer like this, we are willing to reach out in some way.
We could send funds to World Vision, UNICEF, or some other agency.
I would like to invite others to send me your thoughts and ideas. Together we can make a difference. Feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.