Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dreams of a Broken City

It's hardly surprising that I dreamed of flooded cities. Of course our main focus of prayer in company devotions today was for those affected by Hurricane Katrina and for those working to get relief to them. We lost several churches and are still trying to make contact with all our pastors. One of our pastors headed up a church in an impoverished section of New Orleans, on Desire Street. A mission and a school, both wonderful places. This man and his family loved the people that no one else wanted to love. All gone. He evacuated with members of his flock, but we don’t know where exactly yet, but we think they are somewhere in North Georgia. We also had chaplains in the areas hit hardest. One had just purchased a home two weeks ago that is now completely gone. Our disaster response team is setting up a launching area and our phones are ringing pretty constantly with calls from people wanting to make donations or volunteer for relief work. I praise God for people who are stepping forward in big and small ways.

Oh, but how can it be that a first world country as wealthy as ours had no systems in place to protect its frailest and most vulnerable citizens? How much effort was made to evacuate those who had no cars and no money for transportation, housing or food? Or those who could not physically undertake an evacuation? I saw so many rescues of the elderly and disabled—why on earth were they left to fend for themselves? I’ve heard that people thought they had already experienced the worst with Camille. The poorest could not afford to believe anything else. I don’t know what to even pray when I read the stories of survivors, such as this one that I found online, harrowing stories of survivors listening to the cries of the trapped finally silenced by rising water, and the bodies of children and adults floating around rescue boats. I feel more like shaking a fist a God and crying out for justice and mercy. Well, there’s plenty of that kind of lament in the Bible, so I guess I’m in good company.

I’ve been checking A Slip of the Pen and worrying about Crystal and her family, who left their home in Jefferson Parish and have no idea when they can return or if there will be anything to return to. I’ve read posts on from other displaced people struggling to find a place to stay and just to stay sane enough to keep trying. I wish I had an extra room to open to them. I pray that I find a way to be of use.

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