Today’s Daily Office from the Old Testament is Sirach 2:1-11; verse 2b reads: … do not be impetuous in time of calamity. Last night strong storms raked across Arkansas, two towns: Mayflower and Viola were hardest hit. Their tragedy is amplified; about a year ago Mayflower experienced a oil pipeline break that did much damage and is not yet settled. Three years ago Viola was devastated by a tornado, and if I’m hearing correctly a school which was destroyed, that has only recently been opened is once again damaged.
I can think of two impetuous responses. One is to wonder: “What have they done?” It’s a version of the disciples’ question in John 9: “Who sinned?” Jesus answer is “No one – life happens, let the works (glory, presence) of God be revealed. (My lose translation.) We can reveal the work, glory, presence of God by providing needed assistance.
Needed assistance is the second source of impetuous responses. Jumping in your car/ truck and heading off to help with no idea of the needs, no idea if your skill sets are necessary. This is time to recall Paul’s point that all governments are instituted by God for the good of all people. Now is a time to trust in those structures, and collaborate with them. As for our church, I’ve challenged our vestry to prayerfully consider using ministry support funds to support recovery operations thorough our Diocesan structures, (who have better information streams).
I invite us all to continue to offer prayers of grace and strength for those whose lives are tragically disrupted; and prayers of thanksgiving and protection for first responders on the scenes of active search and rescue operations.