A beautiful, cool morning with all of our thoughts and prayers to those just east of us who are waking up in the middle of a nightmare. Help is coming! Hope will return!
As someone who was on ground zero during and long after Katrina, I can resonate so well with what the victims of Michael must be feeling. Mexico Beach reminds me so much of the stretch from Waveland to Long Beach, literally it is like an atomic bomb hit and destroyed everything as far as you can see. The recovery from such takes years.
Right now the best thing anyone can do is let FEMA and first responders do the search and rescue, help people to shelter, and provide their immediate needs for food, water, etc. With roads impassable, miles of downed power lines, and need for the first responders to have access, volunteers need to wait just a bit before descending on them. And if and when you go, please make sure that a) you are in touch with someone who is coordinating relief and recovery so you have somewhere to go and something to do and b) you are completely self sustaining, including your own water, food, gasoline, tools, etc. This will be a marathon of years. We sustained the volunteer community at Camp Coast Care for four years, which is really remarkable but also speaks to the vastness of the disaster. This looks to be similar. Find people to partner with. I will post such info as soon as I can get it. I know our Bishop is traveling today to the area and I am sure will have updates for us soon as well. Please pray for him and the diocesan staff who will be consumed (rightfully so) with this work for months and months to come.
In my constant prayers are my clergy colleagues in the area. If any of you read this, please know I am here for you in any way you need. Looking to do church Sunday? I can come, if I can get in, in the afternoon and bring everything you need for Eucharist. I am letting Bishop Russell knows this as well and I am sure there are several others who would do the same. It is important to gather what people are there for worship and communion, I can not tell you how important that was to our folks after Katrina took our church and community away.
Keep praying folks. Let the Daily Offices give you a structure and the words of the Psalms especially give you hope. Psalm 126 was the Psalm we kept praying at St. Patrick’s until we moved into our new building. “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then we were like those who dream. Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with shouts of joy”. For those in the Michael impacted area, it doesn’t feel like this will happen for you. It will. And that day will be glorious.