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Pastor’s Desk: Turkey and Syria

Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at 12:43 pm

Reverend Sean McIntyre, Centralia United Methodist Church

This past week I have been stricken to tears by the devastation that has happened and is happening in Turkey and Northwest Syria following one of the most massive earthquakes our world has seen in some time. As I am writing this, there have been over 36,000 lives lost as a result. Obviously international relations are complicated, but what is not complicated is the humanity of each and every affected person. It is a helpless feeling for everyone. Even those of us unaffected across the globe feel helpless with a desire to help, but little ability to do so. We can only be reactive to these situations as we can’t predict when such disaster will strike.  Natural disasters are altogether uncontrollable and a devastating reality of our world.

I have seen videos of an infant who was found alive 128 hours after the earthquake. I have seen reports of a father who was found dead, covering his young child to protect him and ultimately saved his life. I saw pictures of a pet dog being pulled out from under the rubble alive after five days. These moments are both heartbreaking and inspiring. I simply cannot imagine what these children of God are going through. But there is devastation even beyond lives lost directly as a result of the earthquake. Those who have survived have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost homes and more. Access to power is limited and temperatures have dropped, so people are freezing. Access to food is limited and ability to cook anything is even more difficult to come by. Resources are needed for continued survival for those who made it out alive. Sometimes it seems that all we can do is pray. And to that end, I encourage you to do so. And we will do so together. But when there is more that can be done, let us do it. Hear these words from our scriptures from 1 John 3:16-18: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard