As Western nations evacuate their citizens from West Africa’s growing Ebola outbreak, some Christian leaders have begun to speak of the virus as a curse from God.
On Friday, the World Health Organization declared the Ebola crisis ravaging the region an international health emergency. On the same day, Nigeria became the latest country in West Africa to declare the virus crisis a national emergency, the day after Spain evacuated a priest and a nun from Liberia to Madrid.
On Saturday, a Congolese nun died from Ebola in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the AP reported.
The outbreak started in December in Guinea, but was not discovered until March. It has since killed more than 1,000 people in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
“People are having different misconceptions that this is [a curse] from God,” said Bishop Sumoward Harris, now retired from the Lutheran Church in Liberia. “This is depending on how they are interpreting the Bible. But I don’t think God is angry and is issuing a punishment.”
In Liberia, more than 100 Christian leaders meeting in early August declared that God was angry and Ebola a plague.
photo © 2007 Laura Askelin | more info (via: Wylio)Though I like a rousing round of ave maria's as much as the next person, the past few centuries of church prayer trends have eschewed Latin in favor of the vernacular -- that is, the language of the people. And to the tune of 450 million copies in more than 70 translations (and counting), it's clear that people the world around speak the language of Harry Potter. Or rather, the story of Harry Potter speaks to them.
So as I watched the final Hogwarts Express depart from Platform 9¾ in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II this past weekend (slightly teary-eyed, I confess), I started to wonder: What might it sound like to pray in the language of Harry Potter -- language that clearly resonates with folks around the world? Would it be cheesy? Probably. Profane? Perhaps. But I figured the God who relied on earthly parables about wineskins and fig trees to explain the Kingdom would understand.
This Memorial Day, let us see and believe the just peace vision and give the full measure of our living devotion to bring into being a world where war is no more.