It’s 8:30 a.m. and I have to confess that my brain is swirling a bit as I think about the events of the past couple of days.
Yesterday 80 of us gathered as a community to worship and then to be sent out to carry the love of Christ into the world. The goal was simple — to offer love as Christ has loved us, and to experience Jesus along the way. And over the course of the day, we did just that…
- By loving on some 25 kids and their parents and sharing God’s love with them at Shadetree.
- By helping a neighbor church address building issues to enhance their ministry for the future.
- By leading a group of senior adults in worship at The Windlands.
- By writing cards to our homebound members, reminding them of our love and concern.
- By stuffing 100 food bags to be distributed to those in need.
- By giving away some 100 bottles of water to passers by on Neely’s Bend Rd., helping them to know about our church and that want to serve.
- By knitting prayer shawls and giving one away to a person struggling with health issues.
- By opening the Quiet Space to some of our homeless neighbors, giving them a place to rest and regroup.
- By carrying cupcakes to our local firefighters and police officers, letting them know we appreciate what they do for our community.
- By collecting school supplies to be given to our area schools.
- By feeding our neighbors with a warm meal, good fellowship, and some rocking entertainment at the Feast Community Meal.
It was a good day, albeit an exhausting one, and I hope that you got a chance to experience God through this day of service. I need to especially thank one of God’s great servants, Jim Neely, for coordinating the WOW activities; Nathan Baker and Debbie Young for pulling together the breakfast; and all the members of THE BAND Matt McNeil, Kent Goodson, Jim Walden, Jerry Armour, Janet Passinger, Deb Naylor, Stephanie Carlson, and Stephen Owen) for helping us to experience God through music. God was indeed in our midst, and we thank Him for allowing us to serve him in this way.
And then, after a full day, I went home and turned on the TV.
The images from Houston brought flashbacks from that weekend 7 years ago when the heavens opened up and the flood waters rose here in Nashville. The situation in Texas and Louisiana is dire, and I remembered how the church was so important to the recovery and rebuilding efforts here in Nashville, and in other similar disasters throughout the world. The damage from the effects of Hurricane Harvey are far reaching, and it will take many years to recover from this disaster. And if this is like previous disasters (like Andrew, or Katrina, or the Nashville floods), United Methodists will be working to end through the work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
One of the things I learned in managing recovery efforts in Southeast Nashville is that there are many who want to help, but in their attempts create more problems than solutions. In all honesty what the folks in Houston need now is not second-hand clothes, or barely used shoes but rather the money to buy those things that are needed in the moment. Donations of stuff end up sitting in warehouses and decaying because they simply aren’t that useful at that point in the recovery efforts.
What Houston reminds me is that the call to offer God’s love never ends. We may have taken a day to Worship Outside the Walls, but the sending by Christ to proclaim his love and bring healing to the world continues on day by day. The needs are ALWAYS great — whether it be helping folks dig out after a disaster or ministering to those who are overwhelmed by the demons of addiction. And we — those that Paul called Christ’s body — are called and sent to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the midst of the world’s pain and suffering.
Yesterday’s Worship Outside the Walls was a great day, and you can be very proud of all that was done in the name of our church. Take a moment to pat yourselves on the back.
But then put your hand back to the plow and get back to the work of sharing God’s love for a world in need of God’s grace.
To find out more about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by UMCOR, click here.