Watching this past week, as many of us are, the events surrounding the devestation of the Gulf coast has come with many mixed emotions. I'll admit to some of them here, some I will probably never publicly admit to. I've been frustrated by the obvious human arrogance that contributed to this disaster. This has been a disaster a long time in the making. I've been sickened by the political labeling of our national shortcomings for relief. Again I'll repeat this has been a disaster a long time in the making. I've been horrified by the near cannibalism exhibited by a number of the citizens and dismayed by the media focus on the ugliness. I've been encouraged by the attitudes of a number of survivors. I'll admit to a bit of ambivalence toward those who chose to stay behind (not those who had no choice) and then demand an immediate rescue and providing for their "needs" as if they were taken completely by surprise. The slowness of the government (Republican AND Democrat, Federal AND State) to mobilize effort.
I am encouraged by the ability of the local church though to respond to the need. No blame, no territory, no questions, just compassion and relentless service. It reminds me that in times like these we see the church, with all of its faults, at its best. It's functioning in many cases as it was designed. With people who have a servants heart and a willingness to serve others in distress no matter what their own circumstances are. It causes me to wonder... why would anyone not want to be a part of that? Why is there so much resistance to the organized body called "the Church"? Maybe it's because our design is not evident all that often. We're too aften distracted from our real purpose. Now those churches have no choice, it's all about life saving which is our primary responsibility. Sometimes it's physical, but always it's spiritual. We have too many people as spectators, but in the South, the benches have been cleared and everyone is in the game. An organization is only as effective as the commitment of its members. The church shines in times like this because, for those effected, commitment is not an option it's survival. I wonder how bright we'd shine if commitment came easier before it became a matter of life or death?