It didn't take very long for Haiti to start changing me. Well, to be more accurate, for the Holy Spirit to start changing me--challenging my assumptions, convicting me of sin, and fashioning a new heart of flesh within me. The way I saw people changed. The way I saw myself changed. But the first thing I noticed, was that the way I read scripture changed.
When I first picked up the Bible during our trip, I nonchalantly flipped to Isaiah 61, which happened to be the namesake for the CCH guesthouse where we were staying. It seemed appropriate to read it, since it was written on the wall and everything. This was a passage that I had read dozens of times and really liked, which I expected to read with the same familiarity with which I put on my favorite shoes.
But as I read this passage, nothing about it was familiar. It was alive and breathing. It was wild but good. Its heart beat with the hearts of the millions I had seen. It was water to parched lips. It was life springing up from rubble. It was dawn over rugged mountains. It was hope for the desolate places. In Haiti, it became Good News.
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of their shame
my people will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice in their inheritance;
and so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs.
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and iniquity.
In my faithfulness I will reward them
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.