The Hard Work Begins (Florence Update)
“Our friend needs a miracle”
Lumberton, NC, USA
Today, we welcome to the blog Rev. Elijah Lovejoy of Resurrection Church in Hope Mills, NC. Along with his congregation, Pastor Elijah is on the front lines of Hurricane Florence recovery. Here are some of his reflections after a first weekend of service.
As our church dips its toes in the sobering waters of post-Florence hurricane relief, I've found myself pondering the miracles of Jesus. Some miracles Jesus does because a person in need asks. "Jesus, heal me of leprosy. Jesus, I want to see. Jesus, stop my bleeding." Other miracles Jesus performs, not because the person asking is in need, but because the friend of someone in need asked. "Jesus, my son is possessed by a demon. Jesus, my daughter is dying. Jesus, my servant is sick."
I especially wonder about the healing of the paralytic in Mark 2, where four men carried a paralyzed friend on his mat to Jesus for healing. To approach Jesus, the friends tore a hole in the roof, which reminds me of tearing up flooring following hurricane flooding, because the doorway was too crowded. Was going to Jesus the paralytic's idea or his friend's idea? Were the friends eager to help, or did the paralytic beg them to carry him where he could not go? Maybe it was the other way around. Maybe the paralytic had no hope, but his friends persuaded him to give Jesus a chance? Either way, a surprising number of miracles happen because a friend or family member interceded on behalf of someone in need.
Hurricane relief work is a lot like asking Jesus for a miracle on behalf of our friend. We are okay. Our house was on the high ground. The brunt of the storm did not hit us. But our friend did not fare so well. Their floor, crawl space insulation, and lower drywall are ruined. Appliances must be removed. Mold is slowly taking over their house. Routine is thrown out the window. Survival, cleaning, and waiting are the order of the day.
Our friend needs a miracle. Will we take them to Jesus? Will we go to them as if they were Jesus? (Matthew 25:40)
-Rev. Elijah Lovejoy, Resurrection Church , Hope Mills, NC
Many of you want to help. Both St. Paul’s Conway and Resurrection Church are opening up their doors to volunteers coming to help with the physical, dirty, tedious work of cleaning out. If you are called to help these friends, you can click on the links to learn more and sign up a team.
Can’t come to the Carolinas? Your financial resources are as important as your prayer and your labor. Your donations allow our partners to host, feed, and supply the volunteers coming to help with the clean up. By giving, you offer tangible hope and help to those in need - no matter where you are.
You can donate to ARDF by mailing a check (with Hurricane Florence in the memo line) to:
The Anglican Relief and Development Fund, P.O. Box 645354, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-5354
You can also donate online at this link.
By supporting the local church through ARDF, leaders on the ground – in the neighborhood – are able to offer the love of Jesus through practical and spiritual help.
These leaders develop relationships that don’t end when the disaster does.
Stay tuned to ardf.org/relief for the latest news and the ways in which you can help. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. ARDF is also keeping a list of individuals and parishes that wish to help. If you send us an email, we will put you in touch with those on the ground.