The news this morning is of another earthquake in Nepal just weeks after it was devastated by one. Nepal is a country I have a personal interest in. Patrician Drummond, Tony and Valerie McGall and Peter and Asa McDowell from my own congregation in Fitzroy have worked there. My good friends Richard and Denise Ross spent time there. Another friend Stuart Dickson has been bringing Nepalese product back to the Uk for twenty years and selling it as Fair Trade. Our denomination has Steven and Laura Coulter and Peter and Valerie Lockwood in Nepal right now.
This all makes it a lot more subjective and because Richard had spent time there I had always attempted to journey with him through Kathmandu with Bruce Cockburn’s song Tibetan Side of Town. I have been praying for this nation for a long time.
As the news came through again today I happened to be reading El Gruer’s poem (click here to read my review of El's book The Paper Sky) about the earthquake that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. It is a beautiful, powerful and challenging piece. Here is some of it. Buy the book to get it all!
I’M SORRY, JAPAN
In our world, it was one of those days.
I had to study for an exam so I didn’t fail,
had a phone call with my Uncle dale,
and it was buy one get one free at the picture sale.
It was there that I heard, Japan, you hit 9 on the Richter scale.
So I stopped. I thought.
I’m sorry, Japan.
But by that time, the day was done
and the news was on.
From a comfortable distance,
I watched the day in your world.
I watched with eyes
desensitised to the perspective
of our Father’s eyes because
I was tuned out from your
blood spilt cries.
I sat calmly, as your
flood-damaged souls died.
I stopped. I really thought.
I am sorry, Japan, that your earthquake
failed to shake me
to my knees to cry out
Father, please, relieve.
I am sorry, Japan
that in my world, your world
wasn’t a part of our world, didn’t move
me to move things ion the spiritual world.
I’m sorry, Japan,
that it wasn’t my plan
to pray for you today.
So, maybe today we should change Japan to Nepal, read this poem and be shaken to our knees to cry out… In an incredible moment of coincidence the first Facebook response I read to the breaking news of this second Nepalese quake was El’s cousin Iona who simply posted “Make it stop”. Amen. Amen. Amen.