In the wake of disaster I Worship

By Arhiana Shek | Oct 18, 2017

Over the last several weeks, hurricanes and tropical storms have left destruction in areas of Texas, Florida, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico.

Some of these places were on the path of not just one but of two of these storms, destroying buildings, taking lives, leaving a trail of destruction debris and many without homes and power.

Two devastating earthquakes in the same month in Mexico have many wondering if another earthquake will happen soon.

There have been losses of family members, pets and property. We see photos of flooded streets and the shocking headlines of damaging winds of speeds that have not been seen in 100 years.

In the face of such unprecedented suffering for many fellow human beings, for the rest of us who get to go home every day, the temptation is to become numb.

I don’t know how this makes you feel, but for me it is overwhelming to watch the news and see cities like Miami, where I have been on vacation before, recovering from such devastations.

Most of us do what we can to protect ourselves, because there is only so much pain and suffering of another each human being can take. Yet, because of our common humanity, I believe those of us who have not been affected in the same way have a responsibility to those recovering from these natural disasters.

Besides the occasional financial donation, as individuals, we might be limited in the ways we can help.

As a community for example, in our worship gathering at Faith Lutheran Church, we have been mindful of our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering by keeping in prayer the victims, emergency workers, and volunteers with recovery efforts.

Perhaps, other communities where you may find yourself are finding other ways to practice love and compassion towards those affected.

In the Bible, the apostle Paul reminds the new church in Corinth to look out for each other, “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it (1 Corinthians 12:26).”

Solidarity and compassion with one another in times of suffering is a way we as human beings stay grounded and connected to each other.

In the midst of terrible loss during the past weeks, human resilience has been incredible, stories of neighbors helping neighbors.

After tropical storm Harvey hit Houston, a man, also a victim, dressed up as Spider-Man to cheer up displaced children.

In photos the raised fist of emergency workers in the earthquake aftermath in Mexico City indicated to everyone present that it was time to remain silent, one of the most important tools to locate survivors under the rubble. Twenty-four hours later, many had been pulled out alive.

These cities and countries impacted by tropical storms, and earthquakes have a long journey of recovery ahead. There is not much each of us can do, except pray.

For those of us in faith, traditions where prayer to God is a source of trust, we pray for God’s presence (who is already with the victims) will continue to sustain all forced to trade their soaking wet couches, and destroyed homes for hard chairs in temporary shelters.

 

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