The news out of Turkey and Syria is devastating and continues to be so. In the face of such tragedy, compounded by years of war in Syria, government weakness in each country, harsh winter weather, architectural decisions, and more, it is hard to know how best to respond, what to do.
I feel helpless as I hear about the search and rescue operation and the mounting death toll, and I am tempted to file this disaster under “far away” or “over there.” Tragedies—mass shootings, police killings, species die off, war—come fast and furious these days since all news travels with us in our pockets, no time between the event and the reporting. We have to choose whether to let the sorrowful news into our hearts and minds; to do so is painful, at times overwhelming.
I don’t have a brilliant solution, nor a new one. Just this: as people of faith, we can entrust people to God in prayer. One of my favorites is this one written by St. Augustine and found in our Book of Common Prayer (p. 124) for use in the evening:
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
And as people of faith, we are connected to all people around the globe, too; no one is outside our circle of concern. And so we can help. Episcopal Relief & Development is our denominational agency that responds to disasters. They do great work and partner with local agencies. You can support their efforts in Turkey and Syria by going HERE.
Unfortunately, there is nothing new under the sun when it comes to disaster and tragedy. Fortunately, we are equipped with the traditions of charity, compassion, and prayer to respond as best we can.