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Storms – Mark’s Musings

by | Aug 29, 2017 | South District Newsletter, South District Webpage

Storms frequently happen in our world. Many of these storms never make it onto our personal radar. When are we most likely to pay attention to approaching storms? For me, it’s when the storm is heading towards me, or towards people that I love.

As I write this article, I’m watching what is happening with Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. There is no risk that Harvey is going to change direction and enter into southern Arizona. Many of my family and friends in Texas, however, are dealing directly with Harvey. My main source of information on their well-being is Facebook. I’m seeing many check-ins and comments saying they are safe. Roads are flooding, roofs are leaking, trees are falling, ponds and swimming pools are filling up, schools are delayed, people are working from home, one friend’s business has flooded, and one person had to escape on foot. If the storm stopped right now, it would be a massive mess. Unfortunately, Harvey is still raging. It is unknown at this time what the final damage will be from this storm. How many lives will be injured or lost? How many houses will be damaged or destroyed? How will businesses be affected? How long will it take to repair roads? We just don’t know yet.

I can tell you that the Desert Southwest Conference is already gearing up to help. I have a meeting this week to talk about plans for our emergency response teams, and ways to get more people/churches involved when the time is right. I am confident that the South District will be a part of this response. There is not much that we can do while Harvey is still storming, but there will be a lot to do in the after-math of Harvey.

This is part of what I like about being part of a connectional church. We help each other when we are struggling with the storms of life. The Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, which includes the Houston area, is actively involved in opening up churches as shelters and helping people with their immediate needs during the storm. God has positioned them to help people right now. They are also in the midst of plans to respond after the storm. As strong as the Texas Conference is, this task could be over-whelming alone. They are not alone. They have the whole United Methodist Church standing with them. This is true for other conferences facing Harvey, too.

Part of what I like about being the church is that someone doesn’t need to be a United Methodist—or a Christian—to be helped. We are called to love people. Not just a few people, but all people. Not just Americans, but all people. Not just those who believe like we do, but all people. Not just…well, you get where I’m going. All people. As I type these words, it is feeling overwhelming. This could easily be the case if we were alone. We are not alone. We have God making this possible.

I’m left wondering how attentive are we to the storms that people are facing in their lives? How often do we not notice, or we don’t even want to notice? To notice means that we have to make a decision to help or not. Hurricanes are hard to miss. Grief, addictions, depression, illness, loneliness, financial disasters, incarceration, family issues—along with many others—can be less obvious. The devastation, though, can be similar.

Jesus had a way of seeing people in a way that others missed. He saw the storms that other people were experiencing. Then Jesus reached out a hand so that they didn’t have to face the storm alone. We have been taught that it is now our turn to reach out a hand.

Your brother in Christ, Mark

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Author: District Office

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