Today I’m wondering how much I should adjust my sermon to address the event that is on everyone’s mind and constantly on the news: the devastating earthquake in Haiti last week. I’m already prepared to speak about life issues this week, as we often do the third Sunday of January. Yet I can’t pretend that people aren’t thinking about the suffering in Haiti, how they can help, earthquakes, and what this all might mean. I also can’t ignore the even greater tragedy of millions and millions of abortions over the last 36 years in America.
My plan is to still speak the truth about life, and use Haiti as an example of how sensitive we are to suffering and dying in this world. So is God. That is why His Word speaks so powerfully about the value of human life, from the view of both creation and redemption. We care about life because He does. Since I don’t write out my sermons, but do a kind of storyboarding, I think I can weave this together.
Another thing to consider when adjusting a sermon is how quickly we move from one crisis to another. After five days, there are already other stories in the news, and our focus is turned elsewhere. Jesus said that earthquakes are just the beginning of the birth pangs, just a sign that the world will be coming to an end, calling people to boldly testify of him and remain faithful (Matthew 24). It’s going to happen, and you are going to need some endurance, in other words, hang on for the ride and remain faithful by loving God and loving others (Revelation). For me, that’s about all you can say about an earthquake. But there is so much more to say about life.