Disasters Are the New Normal: What Does This Mean for the Church?

The pictures in the wake of Hurricane Sandy are shocking. The suffering is real. Again.

So, is it global warming? Is it simply that there are higher populations in the paths of storms these days? More people building houses where they shouldn’t? Or is it just chance that these storms are hitting us? Some would ask “Is God disciplining us?” or “Is he punishing us?”

The “Why” is not an unimportant question to ask, but for us right here and right now, it is somewhat irrelevant. What is relevant is the situation we are faced with and the challenge in responding to it. Many are looking to the government to help. I certainly hope they will. Praise God for the government! But better than the government is the Christian church and sincerely faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who are willing to truly sacrifice time, expense, talent, and even their very lives for the sake of extending the true grace and mercy of God to those in need. No doubt about it. It is so very much more impressive than a government hand out.

It is impressive. It is difficult. But praise be to God there is quite an amazing response so far to the calls we are putting out for Hurricane Sandy relief. We know this is going to be a long term commitment. We need to come to grips with the reality that hands on disaster relief in the Lord’s name to our brothers and sisters in Christ – and anyone else in need – is going to be a regular and beautiful part of the church in the future. It is the new normal. With God’s help we can accomplish much and I am looking forward to it!

In our opening devotions at The Lutheran Academy every morning we recite a line of the liturgy (from Ps. 5) that goes like this:

        “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;

        in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

What a beautiful thing to know that God’s ear is bent to our cry.  What a beautiful thing it is to “prepare the sacrifice” of love and devotion and action, and then “watch” to see what the Lord can do with it!