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The Body Mobilizing: Hurricane Harvey

The images coming out of Texas have deeply gripped my heart. The images of floodwaters covering buildings, streets, and neighborhoods are gut wrenching. I can’t look through the photos without tears rolling down my cheeks: the images of animals tied up and left, elderly people sitting in waist high water and communities boating out of their driveways leave me with a sinking feeling of helplessness. Houston alone has sustained over 350 billion gallons of water since Friday and it’s still raining. Needless to say, Texas will be recovering from Hurricane Harvey for many weeks and months to come. Just the landscape itself will take awhile to recover… much less the physical destruction to people’s property, and lives.

Hurricane Hugo blew through Winston-Salem in 1989 dumping water, felling trees and knocking out electricity for days. I remember seeing the lightening and us being ushered to the basement. I remember the trees being down across the street until they built a house there decades later. I remember being scared of Mother Nature. But, in comparison, it was nothing (in my 3 year old memory) like Hurricane Harvey.

This past spring, the campus pastor at my church broke his knee. His driving knee. A wife and two small kids plus pastoring a church and getting a house ready to sell.  During the same time period co-worker of mine had both of her parents living with her while going through chemotherapy. A full time job, and family and many, many nights sleeping with them in the ER.

Both situations were people I loved who were hurting, trying to adjust to a new, albeit, potentially temporary normal. You know why I adore my community? Because we show up.  You know the point of community? Showing up when things are hard. Showing up when things go awry. Showing up when there’s a need.

Meal plans were created. Babysitters mobilized. Help with housework and painting and cleaning were managed. Scriptures were sent. Prayers were prayed. Tears were shed at the sheer emotional impact of all of it, but you know what, I watched the body of Christ SHOW UP. My friend’s mom, battling breast cancer, who is un-churched, commented on how much food they had on their doorstep – a continual flood of pasta, soups, casseroles. People stepping up to love them well. People showing up with care baskets, hands to carry burdens, and hearts to show love. Truly, we were Aaron and Hur’s hands holding up Moses’ arms toward victory (Exodus 17).

And you know what we are seeing in Texas? People showing up. The body of Christ shows up. Churches becoming relief centers. Grocery stores opening up to help the homeless. Supplies from all over the country.  Clothing and food and boats and supplies are being flown in from around the country. In a beautiful stroked of repayment, the Cajun Navy (men and women from Louisiana pulling boats to rescue Texans from their roofs) are showing up in droves. Texas did the same for them after Hurricane Katrina in 2004. As Texans evacuate and leave their lives behind, companies like H-E-B and Wal-mart are showing up with 18-wheelers full of supplies. Even Anheuser-Busch halted beer production at its Georgia plant to send cans of water to those in need. The Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, the Salvation Army, and many, many other reputable agencies have turned their attentions on the hurting and the desolate in the Texas floods.

This is the best of Christianity.

This is the best of America.

This is the Gospel in action.

Showing up. Loving well. Comforting the hurting and giving our lives away. Just like Jesus told us to in Luke 3, “And the crowds asked him, ‘What then shall we do?’ And he answered them, ‘Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.’” (v 10-11). May we be a people who mobilize when our people are in need. May we be a people who hold up each other’s arms, give away our tunics, and send food and prayers to those in need. May we continue to be the body of Christ.

www.redcross.org

www.samaritanspurse.org

www.salvationarmyusa.org

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