By Jeff Christian
The waters of the most devastating rainfall in United States history had yet to recede before the blasphemy began. Armchair preachers decided it was time to speak, when in reality the better choice would have been to keep silent. “Hurricane Harvey was God’s way of rebuking the sinners,” was one such blasphemy shot into cyberspace like an unaimed shotgun.
I thought about such ungodly observations while many of our church helped clean out the house of one of our families who lost just about everything in the floods. Mind you, this household is a household of prayer, of Christlike hospitality, a place that continually seeks God’s will and shares the joy of the Lord. Many of us have prayed in that house. Sang in that house. Danced in that house. Raised glasses of cheer because we are loved, and because we love.
Granted, none of us are without sin. We know that. But we also know that the Lord of all creation sustains us in ways well beyond our earthly understandings. Like Elijah in 1 Kings 19 who experienced God, we too experienced God in a gentle whisper after the storm.
Each hug in the long lines at the grocery store was God’s gentle whisper.
Every time we carried waterlogged furniture into the front yard was the sound of God’s gentle whisper.
Every donation, every bottle of water, every time someone asked, “How can I help?” were all the places that God showed up and proclaimed, “I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth.”
These were the works of God. These continue to be the moments when love remains, when it is better for us to proclaim God’s presence, not in the storm, but in the gentle whisper that comes after.
We woke up Wednesday morning, August 30, 2017, to sunshine and clear skies. The rain has stopped in Houston. We are grateful to God that all of our people are safe.
The most immediate need will be to help with cleanup of a few homes of our Bering families. We will begin work this morning now that many of the roads have cleared. If you are able to come help, bring work gloves, perhaps something to eat, and some prayer. See the church wide email for specifics, or text Jeff if you need more information.
The Bering building sustained minor damage, primarily ceiling damage in the welcome area where we serve coffee on Sunday mornings. We still do not have power, but hopefully by Sunday we will have electricity. It will be so good to be together on Sunday.
Friday morning at 10:00 a.m., CCSC is asking for volunteers, so about 15-20 can work there if you can.
The mission of the Bering Drive Church of Christ: “Love and Serve God and People.” In the weeks and months to come, the clarity of our mission will be most apparent in our love and service to the Lord, and our love and service to one another and those around Houston. After all, one of the original Greek words for worship means, “work of the people.” It has been truly remarkable to watch the entire city come together to help each other in a time of such dire need.
Thanks be to God that we will be able to continue our love and service.
Like many churches, faith communities, and organizations around Houston, we want to do what we can to help in what will be an enormous recovery effort. Over the next few days we will coordinate with Christian Community Service Center (CCSC) and the YMCA near Bering, which is serving as a staging location for emergency shelters. Most likely we will soon have opportunities to volunteer, as well as bring clothing, water, and other items to these locations. However, since our Bering Family is spread out across the Metro Area from the Gulf Freeway to Sugar Land to Katy to Spring, not mention throughout the City of Houston, all of us who are able to work in our local neighborhoods will do so as we are able, and as needs arise.
For this week:
1) As the local authorities have noted, stay safe, check on your neighbors, and continue to do what Houston has done so well over the past couple of days in sticking together and taking care of one another. And of course, if you have a specific need, please let someone know.
2) Stay in touch with one another, even if it is something as simple as texting, calling, and/or posting on Facebook to let everyone know you are safe.
3) Prepare for the long haul effort it will take to address the needs of many who will need help with cleanup efforts, housing, clothing, and other basic needs. While we want to get to work as soon as possible, this will be a long process that will take weeks and months of working together.
4) Let’s cover this whole city in prayer, asking the Lord to equip us for good works that will build up everyone we can serve, whether friends and family, people coming into our city to help, or anyone we meet.
May the Lord bless you and keep you today.