9.25.2005

The news from East Biloxi

My friend Tom Kadel of Christ Lutheran Church in Kulpsville, PA, has spent the last week with Lutheran Disaster Relief workers in and around Jackson, MS. He wrote a powerful letter about his two trips to East Biloxi yesterday (posted on the synod disaster blog) -- one to see the damage and another to take food to victims. On that second trip he got to pray with a number of survivors, in encounters like this:
At his porch, he turned to me. He had lost his wariness and it was replaced with a tear in his eye. He held out his hand to me. As I took it, I asked, "Would you like a prayer?" "Oh, yes!" he answered. We prayed for him, his family -- some of whom he had still not heard from, and his neighbors. After my "Amen," he added, "Thank you, Jesus."
This is the Church joining God in love for the world, the part that the emerging or alt. church can't forget as it forges new ways of expressing the faith. Tom finishes with a reminder that while the media, politicians and publicity will move on, Jesus doesn't -- and neither can we:
For those of us who have been loved so deeply by God, it is imperative that our loving response not be guided by the front page stories. The people in East Biloxi never made it to the front page and never will. The need here is desperate. The response here shows in an army of volunteers and a flood of needed goods. But it is still not enough. There are no words. What the Gulf needs is not words, but love in workboots. And this will go on.

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