Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Brief Word to Encourage Relief Efforts

Just over seven years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

I remember being glued to the television set, as I viewed endless footage of mind-boggling and surreal photos and videos.

I remember members of churches, to include my own, being eager and willing to rent and load trucks full of relief supplies. They even drove straight through the night to deliver the load and investigate opportunities to partner and serve.

I remember our youth ministry spending a week with an eager and hopeful pastor and the remnants of her congregation. She rallied together every last resource, volunteer, service organization, and prayer, confident that NOLA could and would rebuild.

There were phone-a-thons and benefit concerts. There were prayer services and food and water drives. Even George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton partnered for the sake of Katrina victims.

But that was seven years ago. That was a three-hour flight away.

Hurricane Sandy was this week. Hurricane Sandy was here on the Northeast Coast.

I was challenged this morning as I watched more footage of the Jersey Shore, Manhattan, and Staten Island devastated by this freakish storm. Places I have visited, streets I have walked, boardwalks I have perused, and beaches I have layed upon were under water and washed away.

I began to wonder: would the passion and energy invested in the development of partnerships and relief efforts to a region far away be matched by compassion and solidarity offered to neighbors a quick drive across the Ben Franklin Bridge?

My hope and prayer is that we would rally together as a people to support all our neighbors whenever they are drenched in despair. We are to offer endless compassion in the wake of overwhelming suffering near and far.

"What we call sympathy or in German Mitleid- literally, with-suffering. To feel compassion, deeply and sincerely, is to overcome the subject/object division; it is to suffer with the other...Etymologically, of course, the word compassion contains the same thrust as does the German Mitleid: com(with) + passio (suffering)." ---Douglass John Hall

That said, I encourage all to look for opportunities to donate time, talent, and resources to extend a "with-suffering" spirit to victims of Superstorm Sandy. Every little bit helps.

Here are a few ways you can be off aid:



[1] Taken from a great read, The Cross in Our Context: Jesus and the Suffering World.