Pastor’s Corner: Devastation

October 18, 2017

What are we to do with all this devastation?

The images from northern California, where wildfires have swept across vineyards, and then destroyed neighborhoods, make me weep. Three weeks after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, 80% of the people still lack electric service, and a third lack drinking water. Houston and a long list of Gulf Coast communities face years of rebuilding. After the funerals, families around the United States will continue to grieve for loved ones lost in a torrent of violence in Las Vegas, while others struggle to heal.

What are we to do with all this devastation?

My first response: Pray.

Pray for the lost. Pray for the grieving. Pray for the injured. Pray for the hungry, the thirsty, and the suddenly homeless. Pray for those struggling to aid them. Pray for the leaders of the cities, counties, territories, states, and nations that must respond.

Second: Give.

Give toward relief of the immediate disaster, so that people may have food and water and emergency shelter. Gifts of dollars go farther (and faster) than material gifts in most cases, especially when what we send has to get from our island home to theirs! And give as well toward the long-term recovery. Homes will be rebuilt over months and years. The grieving will need support throughout their lives.

Third: Prepare.

The crash of nearby thunder reminded me just last night that each of us is just one incident away from needing urgent, necessary aid. Emergency kits and critical documents kept in waterproof pouches (Hm. Would my birth certificate survive if my roof were damaged? Uh, oh.) won’t preserve any of us all by themselves – we’ll need other help – but will make the succeeding days easier.

Fourth: Learn.

Storms are striking with greater energy than they have. Plans anticipating the storms of yesteryear will not suffice. Getting supplies to storm-stricken people means getting truck drivers to their trucks – truck drivers trapped by the storm in their homes. How can hospitals prepare for greater and greater numbers of injured people, when both nature and humanity are capable of causing such great harm so quickly?

Pray. Give. Prepare. Learn.


Pastor Eric

Photo of homes in ruins in Puerto Rico on September 23, 2017, by Kris Grogan, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: | Posted on October 18, 2017

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