Prayers for the People
Early news reports that indicated Hurricane Katrina had dodged New Orleans enough to avoid the worst were wrong.
The Gulf Coast is suffering today in ways that are unimaginable to any of us who have anything other than nothing. Reporters are unflinching in telling us the stories: no food or water for the people at the Astrodome, who also must literally live with the dead because there is nowhere to take them; streets still flooded five days after the storm, and more water pouring in because the levees are collapsed; one block of hundreds of thousands of blocks comprised of shattered homes, cars and bodies yet to be discovered. Perhaps the most horrific picture is the broadening belief that no one cares enough to come help because there is no way to spread the news that help is coming.
Among all the horror, help is coming. There are emergency rooms being set up at the New Orleans airport. The streets of Biloxi, Mississippi, are beginning to be cleared with bulldozers. Some cell phone service is being restored so communication lines are opening up. One Texas city, willing to receive 25,000 refugees, has offered to now welcome 75,000 people. Tonight a concert on the NBC network will gather donations for the relief effort. Signs of hope are lighting the way to see over the horizon.
We can add to that light, even at a distance. As people of faith we can make a significant difference in people’s lives on the Gulf Coast simply by continuing to live by what we believe.
First, we can contribute financially in whatever way we can and feel directed to do.
Second, we can continue to pay attention to the news, to know and to understand as much as possible about what is happening, and to see the relief efforts as they are impacting the devastated area. Every time someone is able to make this situation better than it was, God’s will is being carried out in a dramatic, concrete way. In these acts, more hope and more of God’s grace is revealed, and we must remember to be grateful and express that gratitude to God.
Third, we can pray. We must pray, for the residents, the relief workers and those who will follow to help rebuild. If we as a people of faith do nothing else, we must believe for the people of the Gulf Coast that, as the Gospel of John states, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”