Loving people with the heart of Christ in the heart of Wabash.

Philippians 2:3-5

Even the Wind and the Waves…

As a nation, our eyes and hearts are drawn to the flooding in South Texas. Hurricane Harvey brought us face to face with the unpredictability and ferocity of God’s creation. And as a country, our hearts once again sank with thoughts of Katrina lingering in our not-so-distant memories.

The Psalmist echoes our pleas for mercy in chapter 69, when he writes, “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me” (Psalm 69:1, 3).

As humans, and particularly as Jesus followers, we have always had a complicated relationship with water. On the one hand, the Psalmist uses it as a metaphor when life becomes a little more than we can bear. On the other hand, it was Jesus who invited Peter to place his trust in him by stepping onto the water and walking to him (Matthew 14), it was in a boat that was rocked by the wind and waves on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus offered miraculous peace (Matthew 8:23-27), and it was from the chaotic and primordial waters that God brought creation in Genesis 1.

So, what are we to do with this tension? Well, to borrow a phrase from the Yankee Great Yogi Berra, when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Our first instinct is the right one. As our hearts sink with despair, and we struggle for words when the waves literally take our breath away, when what stands before us looks like primordial chaos, when the rains don’t seem to be letting up, we pray.

The Scriptures teach us that the world is God’s, and all therein bow to his command (Mark 4:41)—even hurricanes and floods. And so, in moments when the physical waters are rising, and in moments when the figurative waters are rising, we look to the God who created the waters. He is the one, Jesus said, who sends the rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).

Prayer is the act of opening our hearts to God and allowing his abiding peace to fill the places of vulnerability and need. Jesus says, Come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

But throughout her history, the Church has not stopped there. It is out of our depths of physical and spiritual poverty that the Church is moved to action. Prayer enables you and me as God’s hands and feet to be mobilized.

In fact, it was turmoil like this that allowed the Early Church to grow the most. In the first two centuries AD, pandemics ravaged the Roman world. While others fled the cities to preserve their own lives (their gods had no view of eternity, or the value of individual life), it was the Christians who ran toward the destruction. They had heard Jesus’ words that God loves even the tiniest sparrow and had a view of eternity in God’s Kingdom. So they went into the city to bind up the wounded, to care for the sick, to touch the untouchable with Jesus’ love.

On Sunday, September 10th, we will be receiving our Peace and Justice Offering, and your mission committee has decided that, instead, we will receive an offering to send to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to help with the relief efforts in Houston.

While we may not be flooding into the city to touch the lives of its residents, we can flood the city with our support, our prayers, our gifts, and our love.

As one Greek Historian remarked of that strange group of CHRISTians: “Look, see how they love one another.”

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