Summary: God is our peace in the middle of disaster, flood, loss of life, and every day. We can learn to live in peace with ourselves and others no matter what struggles and difficulties we face.
“How to Be a Peacemaker”
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;” Ephesians 2:14 KJV
Intro: This week has been bitter sweet with the flood disaster in Flat Gap, Kentucky just a few miles from Paintsville First United Methodist, that took the lives of four people. It destroyed over eighty homes. There was major flood damage to another eighty-four homes and significant flooding to over two hundred and seventy-four additional homes. Our thought and prayers go out to this whole community. On the one hand the loss of life and the destruction of personal property by the flood is unbelievable. I have cried with you and cried with this community. That is the “sometimes harsh and bitter reality of nature” and part of the journey in life itself. On the other hand I have seen the huge hearts in this church and community. People working to prepare and deliver food. People donating generously to help.
I cannot begin to name names and express appreciation to every individual. But just a couple of things that I want to mention so that all of us know how important the work you are doing is. When people are in shock their attention becomes very narrow. They have tunnel vision. They can think only about one thing and that thing may be way outside of what is actually happening. I spoke an EMS first responder who said when he arrive on the scene he saw a lady who kept saying, "I can’t find my car keys. I can’t find my car keys." Her car was wrapped around a tree about 500 yards away. So was her house and everything else she owned. But all she could think about was trying to find her car keys.
Another story that stands out that I think describes the type of crisis relief this church has done was: A man who had lost everything. He needed a size 54 pants. You can’t find that size pants at Wal-Mart. So, a couple in the church volunteered to locate and drive out of town to make sure this guy had a couple of changes of clothing.
Then the food army came in and that is what it was. This church became an army of angles, cooking food and delivering hot meals to hundreds of people without electricity, water, or roof over their heads. It reminds me of the song Chris Tomlin sings: “The God of Angel Armies” I know who goes before me. I know who stands beside me. The God of angel armies. Is always by my side. The one who reigns forever. He is a friend of mine. The God of angel armies. Is always by my side. Whom shall I fear. Whom shall I fear.
The church office has received phone calls from West Virginia, New Jersey, Georgia, Ohio, all around Kentucky that said they saw the “Paintsville First UMC Silver Bullet Bus” delivering food and water and supplies. You did his before the Red Cross or any other relief team was able to do that. (go ahead and give yourself hand). Your earts are huge. Your generous giving to mission and ministry work of this church isn’t just when there is a disaster but ongoing. The Kentucky Annual Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator is already on sight and help with recovery plans.