Dear Bishop Jean-Zaché, dear brother in Christ
As news emerges of the devastating earthquake that has hit your country and its people, I am writing on behalf of the whole Anglican Church of Southern Africa to assure you of our urgent and heartfelt prayers at this traumatic time.
At Morning Prayer today, our Old Testament reading recounted the story of Cain who kills his brother Abel. Confronted by God, Cain responds, 'Am I my brother's keeper?' His intention is to claim that he is not responsible - and yet in today's increasingly interconnected world, it seems that God repeats his challenge to us all to shoulder the implications of acknowledging our lives are intimately bound up with those of every other human person, made in his image, across our planet. Therefore today, as we and others around the globe watch and wait for further information, we can do no other but hold you in our prayers, and ready ourselves to offer whatever support might be of most assistance. We particularly look to countries such as the United States of America to show the love of a neighbour in helping you not only materially, but in restoring dignity to those who are suffering devastation, and in supporting the long-term rebuilding of both infrastructure and human society.
Natural disasters such as this remind us of the fragility of life, and of how vulnerable we are to vast and powerful forces that are latent within our world. Humanity still has much to learn of how best to live in respectful harmony with our planet, especially in regions of particular risk. From building policies that take account of physical conditions, through to economic activities that affect our climate, we (and by this, I especially mean those who enjoy political and economic power and influence) have no honourable option but to work always to be part of the solution, not part of the problem - and must take particular account of the poorest and most vulnerable who so often bear the brunt in times of crisis.
My dear brothers and sisters in Haiti, as I sit in shock before TV pictures that are beginning to emerge, my prayer in this season of Epiphany is that the loving compassion and care of God will be made manifest despite and through the pain and suffering that afflicts you. Our Lord counsels us to grieve with those who grieve, but also not to lose hope, knowing that in all things the One who shines an inextinguishable light into every darkness both desires and wills to act redemptively. May you know the fullness of these, his promises, in the days and weeks ahead.
Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town
Inquiries: Cynthia Michaels on 021-763-1320 (office hours)