rev-joaquin-willis_web.jpgSeveral weeks ago, God sent to Haiti a 7.0-magnitude earthquake.  Now, millions are scrambling to close the gaps that have beset the Haitian community.  The world is at last hearing Haiti’s cry for help.

Ed Silvoso, author of Anointed for Business, provides biblically based identifiers of gaps affecting suffering nations. God’s voice, Silvoso says, calls upon us to use cement, to build a bridge, and to construct a better foundation.

For centuries, God has been trying to draw the world’s attention to Haiti.  We ignored Him. He sent wars during Haiti’s colonization, poverty and famine during Haiti’s development, and hurricanes and floods.  We responded by sending food, water, and clothing, but overlooked many obvious problems.  We all created the economic and spiritual gaps between ourselves and the people of Haiti.

A gap is a space between two things of substance. Isaiah (58:12) states, “Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the repairers of the breach, the restorers of streets to dwell in,” referring to the walls of Jerusalem, and to Israel’s sense of community torn apart by people not conforming to God’s value and ethics.

Silvoso states, “Misery in the context of grave social injustice, oppression and selfishness on the part of the rich turns ugly wounds into oozing sores.” 

We allowed Haiti to become an oozing wound upon the body of Christ!  The recent earthquake revealed how Haiti is economically unfortified.

What will it take to close the systemic gaps that plague Haiti?  What does God want His church to do to repair the breach?  These questions underscore my belief as to the cause of the Haitian crisis.

Silvoso describes an “ethnic gap,” deriving from Ephesians 2:22, which describes Jews and Gentiles reconciled in Christ, reminding us that we are to be, “built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” 

The “denominational gap” recalls the Ephesians 3:19 reminder that we are to be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Silvoso posits that Christ’s love preempts the legitimacy of any man-made institution or denominational division.

The “ministerial gap,” filled through Christ, is a bridge builder.  In Ephesians (4:11-13), Paul charges “Apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors and teachers to exhort the preservation of the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Ephesians 5:33 speaks to the “gender gap” that divides men and women, particularly, husbands and wives.  We learn that mutual submission can foster a husband’s unconditional love, and a wife’s unlimited respect.  Adopting this philosophy could also result in single people better understanding who and when to wed.

Silvoso’s “generation gap” is based on an Ephesians (6:1-4) reference to reconciliations between parents and their children.

The “marketplace gap,” per Ephesians (6:5-9), speaks to the farthest points of commerce, that between master and slave, both of whom are “fellow spiritual slaves of Christ, bonded together by the love of their common master (Jesus/God).” Silvoso, like Paul, sees that Jesus is Master of all men.

Let us be clear: the cement that fills the gaps in communities is Jesus. The bridge across the troubling waters is the Holy Spirit.  And, the foundation, regardless of one’s faith, is God!


The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at pastoropendoorc@bellsouth.net.