Note: We need volunteers and donations today as we package meals for the children in drought stricken Somalia. Our goal is more modest as we seek to provide 20,000 or more meals but this goal seems more realistic as we seek to gather our resources to help those impacted by Hurricane Irene.. While there, I’ll try to provide whatever information I can as to what we can do to help those in the Hurricane zone.
We will meet at Heritage UMC at 3 PM.
As I write this, it’s 2:30 AM and Hurricane Irene seems to be mostly through with Virginia and is now heading toward New York City. There are numerous reports of trees down, houses and businesses damaged. Some reports say as many as nine lives have been lost so far. There may be millions without electricity. By the time worship starts, the storm should be concentrated in some of our largest areas of population with much more damage to come.
One thing I’ve learned is that we don’t often hear reports on the storm water surge damage until hours after the storm is gone. So, we are still very likely to hear more disturbing news.
So this morning as we prepare for worship we especially pray for those who have already been impacted by Hurricane Irene and we pray for those still caught in the storm’s grasp and for those who will soon be in the path.
My Facebook page posted comments from friends of mine who were caught in the storm. Several posts were made by cell phone because their home lost power.
- JUST lost power! last five minutes of a movie, too.
- 5 old pecan trees down – planted in the 1930’s and cannot be replaced. The driveway is completely blocked. At least 5-6 other trees down. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!! BUT, SO THANKFUL WE ARE ALL OKAY.
- Anybody with power know where the eye of the hurricane is located right now?
- Ok, I’m thinking we can all use a little uplifting…how about naming something good that has come out of Irene? Mine is, when the power goes out you get to eat ALL of the ice cream in your freezer! Ha!
- Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the soup is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, let it rain, let it rain, let it rain. Haha! 🙂 My hubby fixed his yummy vegetable soup today! 😀
- FEMA warned power outages could force people to interact with others. News of possible interpersonal interactions created panic as residents braced themselves for the horror of awkward silences and unwanted eye contact. Residents feared the worst: conversations with members of their immediate family. FEMA offered advice: “Be prepared. Write down possible topics to talk about. Sports is good, and of course weather. A conversation is basically a series of Facebook updates strung together.”
- the tree in my backyard is definately gonna come down on the house…
Humor is almost always helpful at times like this but it’s especially helpful to hear the comforting words of Scripture and to know God is with us in the midst of storms of every kind.
The Scripture that seems appropriate today: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” -Philippians 4:6
For me this Scripture is not a call to simply smile in the face of adversity. Paul seems to instead offer a substitute.
Instead of worrying… try prayer.
Instead of pacing… try bowing your head.
Verse 7 tells us what happens next: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
At the time this may not seem like the perfect answer but it is the answer we will need most.
In the midst of our trials… we receive peace.
In the midst of our struggle for answers… we receive comfort.
This peace is what will get us through. We may not understand it at the time but God is guarding our hearts and minds in the midst of our trials and struggles so we may continue to live our lives in Christ.
Vickie Vazquez wrote this prayer challenge for her group on Facebook but it seemed appropriate as we pray today for so many.
“This morning I encourage all of my fellow believers to think outside of the box. When you look at another human being today stop yourself from judgment. Look at them in love. And really try to see this person as a person. Try to remember that they too have a story. Strip yourself of all judgment of them and put yourself in their shoes. Try to think about where they just came from? Who did they just talk to? Why are they sad? Why are they happy? LOVE THEM! Get to know them! Step out of your day to day normality and love on somebody new today! REALLY get to know them. Even if it’s someone you already “know”….you probably don’t even really “know” them. There is so much more to people than is at the surface. Dig deep! INVEST in someone else today!” — Vickie Vazquez
May we step outside our comfort box today and really pray for others and at the same time pray for God’s peace. May we dig deep and receive answers that will allow us to step out in faith as we work to help ourselves and others recover from the damages of the storm.