Friday, March 17, 2017

Precious to God

Image result for ethiopian garbage dump death toll

God sees the little sparrow fall,
It meets His tender view;
If God so loves the little birds,
I know He loves me, too.


He loves me, too, He loves me, too,
I know He loves me, too;
Because He loves the little things,
I know He loves me, too.

Snowstorms in Canada this past week resulted in the deaths of several people in different provinces.  he roads become treacherous and accidents occur and some individuals die. We are saddened by these deaths and usually relieved to hear that they have been kept to a minimum even though the pile-ups might be scary in scope.

What constitutes a tragic loss of life? Every death is significant, we are inclined to say, but do we subconsciously feel that some lives matter more than others?

At the beginning of the week I read that a massive mound of garbage collapsed at the edge of the Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa. The dump had been scheduled to move, but the people who depended on the festering mountain of refuse wanted it to stay because it is a source of livelihood. Portions had been bulldozed to mine for methane, which probably destabilized it. Those who lived in shacks at the edge of the dump were inundated. I've been searching reports all week. The first death count was in the thirties, nearly all women and children. Each day the grim tally has increased and now stands at 110.

One hundred and ten desperate yet valuable lives snuffed out in one incident within minutes, yet we've heard so little about it. Can we even find Ethiopia on a map? We are better informed about the skiers or snowmobilers who go out of bounds and are killed by avalanches than about incidents such as these.

Image result for ethiopian garbage dump death toll

The children's hymn above fell out of favour, in part because of the male language to describe God, but it did remind us of the passage in Matthew where Jesus, who was eventually crucified on a hillside near a garbage dump,  says that even lowly sparrows are precious to God, so each hair on our heads are counted and we truly matter.

If this is true, then we should all pause for a prayer to honour the precious lives of those who died at the edge of a dump.

Image result for ethiopian garbage dump death toll

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