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For The Church

Hurricane Laura - Afterthoughts & Pressing On

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It’s been 3 weeks since Hurricane Laura made landfall and ravaged our corner of the world. It’s been 3 weeks of balancing relentless crisis on top of crisis. It’s been 3 weeks of figuring out how to articulate my thoughts. But if I had to summarize them today, it’s this: if I have to go through hell with somebody, Sulphur Community Church, you’re the people I want to go through hell with. You have stunned me with your response and generosity in the midst of this historical moment.

God has called us to not grow weary in doing good and there is so much that lies ahead for us. Our city will never be the same. We are literally walking through trauma daily. Trauma breaks what is beautiful. Trauma shatters what once existed. And what I fear most is that trauma alienates. In the midst of trauma we start to believe a lie that says we’re alone. Be watchful for alienation! Often, when we endure trauma, we go off the rails. If you don’t know right now that you need something beyond yourself, YOU DO! Lives, marriages, finances, will derail if you embrace alienation in this traumatic moment. When we become broken and shattered and alienated, we will try to cope in all the wrong ways. And I believe God has called us to deal with this trauma and pain TOGETHER. My invitation is for you to seek God in how you care for yourself as well as one another.

 As a local expression of the Church, I want SCC to know that we are, collectively, in a state of grief. And grief has a level of confusion that comes along with it. One emotion after the other, and at times wondering if you’re crazy. We will move through other emotions like shock and denial. Others deal with the emotion of sadness brought on by survivors guilt. You feel like an outsider because your life isn’t as wrecked as your friends and neighbors. This may motivate you to join in the relief efforts out of a small part of love, but a lot of guilt. It’s ok. Just call it what it is. We’ll go through moments of outburst. You’ve probably already had several this week. Looking at our social media feeds of friends from out of town, going on life as usual can make us angry and resentful. Remember, it’s not their fault. Part of grief is being angry. So let’s be quick to forgive one another. Anxiety is real! Watch for it. Don’t medicate it only. Take the time you need to change your surroundings and habits to help fight it!

Beyond these, what are we to do and how are we to care for ourselves and one another in this journey? Obviously our patterns are being disrupted. Even as this storm’s magnitude grew, there was one thing that became more and more glaring to me; our church and our city CANNOT get through this alone. And you wouldn’t believe the amount of churches who, still to this day, are gathering teams and resources in their parking lots all over the U.S. who are headed our way. Even when the roads weren’t open yet, there were people on their way to help us.

I use the illustration of ‘open hands’ often to describe how we should treat our plans and possessions. An open hand is actually the center of our logo. But this posture of “open-handedness” is reciprocal. Open hands imply both giving AND receiving. In our church family, we are to give and receive. And I know that as I write that, there is a sin that creeps into our community. There are people with needs who are struggling with pride and an inability to receive. With the help of the Spirit, may you be enabled to receive from someone else the generosity empowered by that same Spirit.

And at the bottom of all of our hearts still lurks the danger to grow weary in doing good. And community is the gift God has given us to press on and see that “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” So let’s gather together this Sunday to check on and encourage one another and declare to one another the mighty works of our God and maybe share a meal together!

Since our gathering space at the 501 Community Center took on some substantial damage, we’ll be meeting at The Village Coffeehouse located at 121 S. Huntington St. for the foreseeable future. Once the community center is hitting on all cylinders again, we’ll make plans to move back into that space. 

Blessings on you,
Blake

1 Comment

Today was my first sad day in all of this. Sad that so many are still struggling. Sad that we will be rebuilding for a long time. Sad that I can’t help more people. Then one of the people that i have visited every day, except yesterday, past away yesterday. So I am so very sad for losing my new friend. My joy comes from knowing that we spoke about her relationship with Christ. I have peace that she is no longer in pain. I know there are more to reach.

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