“Faithfulness means … I will keep [those affected by the Hurricanes] on the front page…”
In the North Carolina Piedmont, the latest hurricane has devolved into a typical rainy day. We have been worn down more by round-the-clock news coverage than the wind and rain. First there was Irma and then Harvey. We were anxious as we watched the Doppler radar, and could not turn our eyes away from it.
But, in a few days meteorologists and TV reporters will get some sleep, and talk of storm surges will recede into the background. Our minds will be taken up with the usual topics, such as intrigue in the nation’s capital, weekend football, or whether or not we should drop our cable TV subscriptions. Recovery in Texas and Florida will become a back story.
Excuse me if I sound tongue-in-cheek, it’s just that natural disasters capture our attention while they are still sensational, but when the recovery becomes long, expensive and tiring we tend to turn our attention elsewhere.
Yesterday afternoon when I was shopping for flood bucket supplies in my local Family Dollar, a passage from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was playing through my head. “But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member…if one member suffers, all suffer together with it…you are the body of Christ…”
By these standards, folks in Beaumont, Texas would remain on the front page until every resident returned to a dry home. Sadly, that won’t happen. By February of next year when relief efforts are still underway, we will be more versed in the Super Bowl lineup than by how many families still live in temporary housing.
As I walk through the narrow aisle I checked the items off my list. I shop infrequently, so I was returning to the same shelves a second and third time. One 50oz liquid laundry detergent, 16oz liquid house cleaner, 16oz dish soap … When I came to the 50 clothespins and 50 feet of clothesline, I found myself walking in circles searching until the sales clerk pointed me in the right direction. At home, I laid out the supplies on the kitchen table and put them into the bucket, angling my purchases this way and that way, finding it is a tight fit. From start to finish, the project took me about one hour.
In the scheme of things, my efforts seemed incidental, but it was something that I could do. It was my way of honoring the victims. I will never meet the family that will use the detergents and brushes, but if it helps them stretch their limited resources a little bit further as they try to get back into their storm-ravaged house then I have been partly faithful.
The other part of my faithfulness is to remember them and to remember everyone in our society that in some way has become “the inferior member”. Faithfulness means I will remember them every day with a short prayer, a nod to their predicament or a helping hand. I will keep them on the front page. Yesterday I did this by filling a flood bucket.
There are a stack of empty buckets in the Christian Enrichment Center waiting to be filled by members of our congregation. I hope you will take one. Follow this link for instructions and bring it back by Tuesday, September 19. That is early next week. We haven’t much time because the Western North Carolina Disaster Response Team wants to get them to flood damaged neighborhoods while they are needed.