Brothers and sisters in Christ,
On its path, or should I say non-path, along the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Harvey was ruthless in its attack. Its wake left the greatest single rainfall in a specified area of the United States for as long as record books have been kept. Barbara and I unofficially measured 42” at our home. And that amount of rain was devastating around the Houston area: flooded homes, boats instead of cars in the streets, power outages, emergency evacuations … whole areas uninhabitable for days, weeks, perhaps even months or years. Some will never go to their homes again, some will never be the same.
Even as the sun comes out, it brings with it a mixture of relief, grief, and mourning. We are relieved that it is over, we grieve for those who lost their homes and precious belongings, and we mourn for those who lost their lives knowing their families’ and friends’ pain will last a lifetime.
However, Harvey showed us something else. Its devastation revealed the largely unseen but ever present resilience, care, and fortitude of those impacted by the disaster. People, themselves in need, helping others; small fishing boats became rescue boats, pathways once clear now covered with treacherous waters tread by those dedicated to find others who could not walk themselves or to carry those who could not carry others. It brought out the best. It displayed a determination to help in the midst of suffering, which in once sense is a microcosm of what FCBC is about.
You see, metaphorically and spiritually, we are in a hurricane all of the time. Most of the time we cannot see it or feel it because we are in the eye of the storm, where all seems bright, safe, and secure. But do not be deceived for it will not be long before the stiff winds and torrents of rain will come upon us once again. Therefore, having an awareness of this, we need to help one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
That is one of the reasons we are here – to help one another. Matthew 25:35-40 reads, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
As our eyes were glued to the weather channel we noticed that for a brief moment, Harvey was center stage but as it faded, so did its coverage. Yet, after the rain has ceased and the flood waters have receded, wounds, physical and spiritual, need tending to as well as the basic needs for food and shelter. In today’s world, our heroic first responders are largely administered by the government and as such, the church is not generally considered to be first responders. However, we are second responders and now it is our turn. After the world’s attention has faded, First Colony will continue to be present by providing ongoing assistance.
We will provide not only temporary relief, but also long-term help and support in the recovery effort. We will be a part of making our little portion of the globe whole again.
So, remember that if called upon to remove debris, provide a meal, or rebuild that which has been torn down. Be devoted to provide the help in such a way that displays the love of God. We will see FCBC through, we will see other Assemblies through, we will see Sugar Land through, and with God’s help we will go farther and see some come into Christ’s kingdom.
Hopefully a week of nonstop media coverage about Harvey coupled with our own intimate experience with it will have chiseled us in such a way that we have come out a more aware, humble, and tenderhearted people… recognizing that our dependence upon the great God of the Universe and the grace He manifested, through the profound lengths He went to for our salvation, in Jesus Christ our Lord, who is to be praised for ever and ever, is our only truly safe place, Amen.
Be safe, be mindful, be generous, and be available when called upon.