It has been a difficult week. The images and stories continue to be heart wrenching. Many of us have friends and/or family affected directly by Hurricane Harvey. But even for those who do not, we are all deeply moved and troubled by the enormity of the disaster. Then add in, locally, the sudden lines at gas pumps last night and perhaps for coming days (I experienced a 30 min wait late last night — tempers were flaring, with anxiety and plenty of political commentary and blame to go around.) It’s a mess! And it’s likely to get messier as the aftermath of clean up, insurance claims, health care costs, and economic fall out promises to be around for months if not years.
Is it somewhat ironic that this is when our humanity tends to shine its brightest, with profound stories of rescue, compassion, and generosity? Some might find this unfortunate, a critique, asking, “Why does it take large scale human suffering to bring out the ‘better angels’ of our nature?” I find it hopeful — knowing that when life throws unexpected, disasters at humanity (regardless of skin color, economic status, sexual or religious orientation), people from all backgrounds come out of the woodwork to help, and do so side by side. It suggests to me that we are capable of getting past divisive, personal and tribal ideals, biases, and opinions, to compassionately respond to our shared humanity in times of need. It suggests to me that, with some greater self-reflection, we might just begin to see that our times of need and shared humanity are not limited to catastrophes or natural disasters but are, in fact, what connect us in small, significant ways daily.
In the meantime, though, here’s what we can do to respond to this crisis and need right now:
- Give financially to the United Methodist Committee on Relief online (designate it is for Hurricane Relief). 100% of the money goes directly to onsite relief.
- Check here with our church’s weekly updates for more ways to help locally with clean up kits, underwear/sock collecting, local evacuee shelters.
- Most importantly, remember to commit to the long term for this crisis. The clean up and health care issues, the potential insurance crisis and economic repercussions, the massive community-wide rebuilding, will take months to years. Remember to keep one another in prayer, to listen deeply for what is most needed. It is not up to us to decide what others need. It is up to us to be present, to be open, and to be compassionate. And to remember what Fred Rogers said when asked where the presence of God is in the face of such suffering. He said, “Look to where the helpers are.”
Then, I hope you will join us this Sunday, September 3. In fact, if you’re in town this Labor Day weekend, you won’t want to miss the eleven:eleven celebration for a dose of uplifting music, humor, and inspirational stories.
It’s a very special Sunday morning, a “favorite hits and best bits” celebration of some of our favorite songs, specials, theatrical moments, and inspirational ideas. We’ll be joined by the incomparable voice and song-writing of Elizabeth Wills, along with Brad Thompson, Lori Drier, Claire Kirk, Laurie Simmons and the revolution band, as well as actor Jakie Cabe in a hilarious, inspirational reprisal from Greater Tuna, Texas!
Original poetry, songs and stories of hope – an affirmation of God’s “yes” for a divisive, pessimistic, and suffering world.
sunday, sept 3
“the kin-dom of god is like this”
rev. tom mcdermott & friends
(jakie cabe, elizabeth wills, charme robarts, peter canning)
and the revolution band – with the music of
the eagles, iron and wine, ruthie foster, and elizabeth wills.
SAVE THE DATE!
Sunday, September 17
featuring Hannah Kirby
(singer/songwriter from The Voice)
Followed by our Fall eleven:eleven community lunch!