Summary: The church must be the church. We are the people who right now know where God is. We are the people who know what God’s love is. We are the people who know that where God is there is hope. Through the hurricanes and heart aches of life, we as the chur
At certain time in the past I have become a news junkie. When I am at home I am watching television flipping the channel between different networks or scouring the Internet looking for more information about what is going on in the world around me. I was that way with the Columbia tragedy a couple of years ago and then again a few weeks ago when Discovery was flying.
I have been that way again this week with the events in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. I have wanted to know hear, see, and read all of the news from that part of the country this week. I think that is probably because of growing up on the Gulf Coast and now, I live closer to the Gulf of Mexico than at any other point of my life. I know, I understand that what has happened to those folks could just as easily have happened to us here in Santa Fe.
My heart aches for what our neighbors to the east have experienced this week. Perhaps I have felt this way because I have been through several hurricanes during my lifetime. I have seen some damage from wind and floodwaters. I have vague memories of Hurricane Carla when I was a small child. I have clearer memories of going through a hurricane at sea when I was in the Navy, though I can’t tell you what its name was. I also remember very well Hurricane Alicia and the less than comfortable aftermath that followed her. And, though I was in Grapeland at the time, I don’t think that I will ever forget the tremendous flooding that happened with Tropical Storm Allison.
As I have watched the news of Hurricane Katrina this week, I have come to realize that what I knew of destruction is comparitivley nothing at all. I have little trouble comprehending a home or two destroyed at the hands of a tornado. It is a little harder, but I think that I can even understand an entire neighborhood destroyed in much the same way. What is almost impossible for me to comprehend is the total destruction that today is the city of New Orleans. And, to make matters even worse, the problems and the destruction are not just limited to New Orleans. The pain and heartache, the damage continues east to Gulfport and Biloxi and into Alabama. Then, to a much lesser extent, the path of damage continues up into the northeast.
What we have seen on television and in the newspapers this week is absolutely frightening. The pictures that we have seen should send chills through each of us. One news report that I heard on Wednesday talked of the long term effects and said that as many as 1,000,000 people are now homeless and unemployed, giving this storm far more reaching effects that Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Today we should identify in very profound ways with the residents of the central Gulf Coast. We should, at least on a limited basis have an understanding of what they are experiencing.
In our lesson this morning the psalmist, without question can identify with those who are experiencing this tragedy. Our neighbors, and truly us as well understand his words when he says, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! Hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.”
As I hear those words I can hear the deep pain in the psalmist’s voice. It is from the very depts. Of his soul, but I don’t think that he sees it, or at least he doesn’t want to see it as a personal pain that he bears alone. Psalm 130 is a psalm of lament. It is a personal lament for the psalmist, but it is really more than that. It is also a lament for the whole community. Yes, he cries out to God for himself, but he also cries for all of Israel. Yes, he is in pain. But, so is all of Israel. The psalmist’s cry is a personal cry but it is deeper than that. It is a cry for the nation.
The past week has brought many tears from many people that were so personally and dramatically affected by the storm and its aftermath. But, those were not the only tears. We too feel their deep pain. They, and we too, may even cry out to God. The good news that is implied by that cry is that we know we don’t go through this alone. Our neighbors need to know that they don’t go through this time alone. God is with them and as children of God we stand with them as well.
Today people are waiting for the Lord. Perhaps some are waiting patiently, while others wait far more impatiently and still other don’t even realize that they are waiting for the Lord. Still others may even ask if God is really there, if God really exists and if God really loves us, how could he have ever let this happen. In the news reports there have been those who have said as much when asking what is a simple question without a simple answer, “Why?”