Thursday, September 01, 2005

The New Orleans Reminder

We've all been witnessing the devestation. Like the car accident on the interstate, like the train wreck, we can't not look. All over the news we see the rising flood waters, the anihilated homes, the obliterated businesses and the literal human desbris in New Orleans, LA and Mississippi. It seems sureal to see citizens of the United States suffering in such unbearable ways. It feels like we're watching footage from some Indonesian Tsumai. But it is not.

Though it feels like things we have seen on the news from other nations, it also is a small picture of what the Bible refers to as "The Flood". I recall the story. The torrential rains, the fountains of the deep exploding and earth being covered with water. What does the flood have to do with New Orleans? Look at the destruction. People are dead. Debris is everywhere. Only this time it's different. This time there are actually people left on the earth to help.

Think about it. In the ancient deluge there were moms and dads clutching their children trying to save them. There were people trying to stay afloat. They were climbing the highest trees and mountains to escape the death that lapped at their feet yet to no avail. The entire human popluation of the earth was found, eventually, at the bottom, left only to decay and be no more.

Now to be honest I'm waiting. Forgive me if this sounds cynical but I'm waiting for religious people who claim to speak for God to begin telling everyone (that didn't necessarily ask them) how God was judging people for their sin. After all there are casinos down there and that's a sin. And we all know about Mardi Gras. How can God ignore Mardi Gras? I am waiting for the religious people to tell us all how God judged those people and it is their fault because they loved gambling and Mardi Gras.

But that's not why the hurricane happened. Were the previous hurricanes that "missed" before just God's warning shots? Of course not. When I saw the coverage on the news one of the first things I noticed were all the church buses lined up to get people out. Before FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was providing rides for anyone, the fleet of Baptist Church buses was there to aid those in distress. If God was ticked off at those people, he forgot to tell those church people not to help them. If God was laying down some punishment, he forgot to tell the followers of Jesus in the buses to stop showing mercy.

When Noah witnessed the destruction of the world in his day, he saw God making a huge point. He was angry at all the wrong that was being done so he scrapped it and started over. When we witness the destruction in New Orleans I am reminded that God is still making a huge point. This time it is "love your neighbor as yourself". This time it is "no matter what you face, God can make a way".

Let New Orleans remind us that God loves all of us. What the world needs is followers of Jesus that will love them just as they are and help them repair the ruins of their lives. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. I would hope that those of us who say we are his followers would do nothing less. Find a way to do just that.

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