Blogathon for Pearlington

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Not So Slow Churches At Work

Remember those signs you used to always see on the sides of the road? “Slow Men At Work.” Or “Slow Children at Play.” I remember a joke from childhood when someone threatened to put a sign in front of the church: Slow Church at Worship.” I’ve seen my share of churches that deserved it too. Slow to change. Slow to take action. Slow to accept new people. Slow to try new music. Slow to get fired up about anything let alone an act of worship or of outreach.

One thing Katrina did was to shock the complacency right out of the local churches. Ask anyone from around here how we survived the first couple of weeks after the hurricane, and you’ll hear, “The churches saved us.”

Mississippi isn’t called the Bible Belt for nothing. There really is a church at every street corner. Those churches became the staging areas for what was by far the majority of relief efforts. Local churches passed out water, food, diapers, and other emergency supplies. They served meals and cleaned up debris. They checked up on the elderly and cut trees off of houses. They provided facilities for refugees and for relief workers alike. When some of their members started getting power and other utilities back, they did laundry for strangers and even offered places for people to take showers.

The whole world had turned to chaos as far as we knew. The traffic lights were out, and the roads that weren’t still blocked with trees were just an out and out free-for-all. The grocery stores were shut down. People would wait overnight in line just on the rumor that a service station might be about to get some gas. The cell phone and radio towers were down, and people had very little access to information. They had no way of knowing just how bad things were or how long it would take to restore order. In all of that, they were hearing rumors of lootings and shootings and all manner of crime that made them afraid to venture very far out.

As soon as supply trucks could get through, though, churches from all over the country started sending much needed aid to their local affiliates, and the local congregations came together to work day and night among the heat and insects and confusion just to get those supplies out to the people who needed them the most.

Katrina taught us many lessons. She taught us that we need to always be prepared to go without power, running water, bank cards, and 24-hour grocery stores for possibly weeks, or in the case of coastal residents, months at a time just in case disaster strikes. She taught us not to take our homes and families and conveniences for granted. Yet she also taught us that we aren’t in this life alone, and we don’t have to face tragedies alone. She taught us that the greatest strength in humanity is our caring for one another. She taught us what it really means to be God’s children.


Pictured above: Stacy of University Baptist handing out supplies after Katrina.

1 Comments:

  • What an inspirational post! It's amazing how people can pull together in times of need.

    By Anonymous Lady Lunchalot, at 8:57 PM  

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