If you are like me and you’ve seen pictures of Hurricane Harvey or have listened to the news, you just can’t help but feel compassion for the victims who have lost so much. The fact is though we might sympathize with their suffering, the truth of the matter is we do not have an idea what the people of southeast Texas have experienced for the last week. Even as you read this, the waters are still rising in some parts of Houston. Today marks the sixth consecutive day that Harvey has pummeled southwest Texas and Louisiana with no signs of relief until Thursday. Think about that—144 hours of torrential rain and gale force winds with more to come. The New York Times has put together a collection of powerful photos from the storm battering the Gulf Coast and if you have not been moved by what you’ve seen in the news take a look at this article and you will.
However, if there is one thing that give me hope during this storm it is the compassion of caring people that has risen to great heights to help those in need. The flood of compassion from people has reached well beyond Harvey’s storm band’s destruction. There are plenty of examples in the Bible where people are called to act when others are in need. Proverbs 3:27 reminds us, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Jesus teaches us to help anyone and everyone in need in the well known parable of the Good Samaritan. However nothing trumps the great commandment where Jesus summarizes the Law by instructing us to Love the Lord your God and to love others.
Though Restoration is a small church God’s resources are abundant and we want to respond with his grace for those who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. As a church we want to do three things:
Our Anglican prayer book gives us prayers for all situations even when we don’t have the words to pray:
A Prayer for Those Coping with Floods
God of compassion,
you hear the cries of all who are in trouble or distress;
accept our prayers for those whose lives are affected by storms and flooding:
strengthen them in their hour of need,
grant them perseverance and courage to face the future
and be to them a firm foundation on which to build their lives;
this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Or pray using the imagery of the Psalms about floods and God’s rescue of his people, like Psalm 69
There are many reputable organizations offering relief to those who are displaced by flooding and I hope you are moved to give generously. Restoration is holding a diaper drive that will benefit Trusted World. I will be handing out fliers to local businesses asking them to collect diapers of all sizes and we will also collect them when we gather on Sundays for worship. Please, let me know if you would like fliers to distribute to a local business who could also collect diapers for the drive or would like to pick up contributions at the end of the drive. We hope to give an amazing number of diapers to the Hurricane Harvey relief effort by the end of the drive on Sunday, September 10.
Many of you may have gone to New Orleans to clean up after Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. When the flood waters recede even greater destruction and need will be revealed in Houston and the surrounding area. If you are moved by what you have seen this week think about responding by going to lend a hand in the coming weeks and months. This is only the start of a long recovery for the southeastern part of our state and I would like for Restoration to continue to extend compassion by going to meet needs directly.