The Bishop's Reflection on Human Error
"Come, see the LORD's deeds, what devastation he has imposed on the earth - bringing wars to an end in every corner of the world, breaking the bow and shattering the spear, burning chariots with fire. 'That's enough! Now know that I am God! I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!' The LORD of heavenly forces is with us! The God of Jacob is our place of safety." Psalm 46:8-11 (CEB)
Yesterday morning, the people of Hawai'i were shocked with an alert that ballistic missiles were headed toward our islands. Many noted that there were no sirens and that there were no special reports. Military types noted that they doubt North Korea has the targeting ability to hit the islands. Those of us on Queen Emma Square remained calm. All in all, it was a long thirty minutes, but most in these Islands responded with calm.
A mistake happened. Someone pushed the wrong button. It was human error. Hopefully, we will improve systems and be more aware of possibilities. I said a prayer last night for the poor person who pushed the wrong button. Stuff happens.
As a Christian, I was reminded that our security is in God and the words from Psalm 46 (quoted above) were immediately brought to mind. More importantly, the followers of Christ are called to be the heralds of peace. That begins with us and with our leaders. By challenging words of hate and prejudice, and by refusing to participate in actions that cause fear and encourage division, we live into the peace of Christ. The greatest gift we can give our children and grandchildren is to breakdown the walls of hate and fear that divide the nations of the world. We can refuse to demonize others or to allow anyone to speak words of hate on our behalf. We can respect the dignity of every human being.
Yes, great evil can happen and the worst is always a possibility, but as servants of Jesus Christ, we need not be afraid. We have been promised the peace that passes all understanding.
Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai'i and
The Episcopal Church in Micronesia