Like so many of you, I’ve been moved by news (and video) of the numerous acts of generosity and courage that have come out of Hurricane Harvey’s zone of destruction. We’ve seen the rescues by truck, flatbed, boat, swan float, helicopter and more! We’ve heard stories of football players raising millions of dollars, a little sweetheart who opened a lemonade stand for victim relief, and a real surge of generosity that has raised our spirits as well as finances for those who are truly suffering. (Here I can once again commend Episcopal Relief and Development as an outstanding on-the-ground relief aid organization.) And, of course, there are also the stories of those who tried to charge $90 for a case of water to those who had nothing.
Sounds so trite but disasters do bring out both the best and the worst in humankind. When encountering those in crisis or at least in a vulnerable position, do we respond with grace (and in fact respond to grace) to reach out with love and caring OR do we allow the misfortune of another to enhance our own fortune? It’s always a matter of choice, isn’t it? Am I open to that power which God gives to any and all who seek it in order to love my neighbor as much as I love myself?
Jesus put it rather clearly: “Love one another as I have loved you.” You perceive a person in need, then love that person and try to address that need. You do what you can as best you can. Human life has always been and will ever be marked by the impact of nature’s random cruelty. (The old proverb, while annoying, remains true: “While God always forgives, nature never forgives!”) We’re here for a purpose, and as long as we are here, I hope and pray we can respond to that divine impetus to love the other and be there for the other not because we want to be thanked or because we fear that if we don’t, bad things might happen to us, but simply because Jesus taught that if you want to be his follower, you have to love one another. There is no other way!