Losing Everything…Finding Even More (8/18/2016)

August 18, 2016 in Church News

The devastation is almost beyond comprehension. People living in Louisiana know it and they feel it. I’m not sure everyone living in places where they call parishes “counties” understands. It doesn’t seem to have broken through completely to the national consciousness yet. The one statistic I heard that perhaps makes the point better than any other comes from Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard who estimates that over 100,000 people of his parish have “lost everything.”What does that mean…to lose everything? Some of you who are reading this are painfully aware of its meaning. It means scooping up the soggy heap that is the remains of your earthly possessions and putting it out by the street to be taken away as garbage. It means ripping down the walls of your house that just last week proudly displayed family photos. It means that the carpeting which you spent so much time picking out the right color to match your decor is now a wet stinky mess that needs to be pulled up and removed as quickly as possible. What do you do when you lose everything?

I think another aspect of this disaster that has not been clearly portrayed on the national news is what the people of Louisiana have found this past week. A community that just recently made headlines because of racial tension and violence has found its true heart. Of course, it has always been there. But it showed itself once again in a time of crisis. The willingness to help and sacrifice for strangers in need is something that comes naturally to the people of this part of Louisiana. The number of people who were rescued by men and women untrained in emergency response is great. Although growing up on the bayou was perhaps the best training these rescuers could have ever received.

For our brothers and sisters in Christ who have “lost everything,” they have found something even greater than the love and support of their community. They have found that when you take all the stuff of life away, all that remains is the love of Christ and Spirit-worked faith. And that is enough. You can read a hundred times Paul’s words to the Romans that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” but only after losing everything, do you truly grasp their meaning.

There are many who suffered this devastating loss who do not know this sustaining love of Christ. Our prayer is that the Lord would use his earthly hands, the church, to reach out to them and help them in this time of need–not only that they might be able to rebuild their lives and regain the stuff they need, but also that they might find so much more–faith in Christ and a hope that lasts forever.

In Christ,

Pastor Steve Hahm

 Sunday Preview

August 21st
14th Sunday after Pentecost
Safely Home
Isaiah 66:18-24; Romans 9:1-9; Luke 13:22-30
Hymn of the Day
“I Walk in Danger All the Way” (CW # 431)