Like most of you, I have been amazed by the tragedy and devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. I have been nearly equally amazed at the length of time it has taken for aid to reach those most affected. On the brighter side, I have been moved to tears by the outpouring of love and graciousness demonstrated by so many around the country and especially in my city, Houston.
Right now over 20,00 people are setting up temporary shelter at the Astrodome. Many more than that are being housed at churches and houses of worship and healing around the city. My only regret is that my congregation is home to a pre-school so we cannot house people ourselves.
This Sunday our faith community will be taking a special contribution. I know our people well enough to know that they will respond with overwhelming generosity. I was wanting to take some of our Jr. High and high school students to the Astrodome to help, but those in charge have alerted us that volunteers are overflowing and it’s beginning to get hard to manage, so they’re not asking for any more people. That’s the kind of faith communities are here in Houston, they are trampling over each other to help. These are the times when Christians can reach beyond the rhetoric of politics and right and wrongness and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Though we can’t go to the Astrodome this weekend, there are ways to help if people have eyes to see them. My neighbor, Chandler, is housing about 5 cars worth of relatives. They will need food and clothing and all kinds of other things. Rochelle and I have agreed to help with whatever we can. I’m not sure how long they will be here, but I know it will be a long ride back to wholeness, for them and thousands of others.