There is a beauty to the church being the Church that only come out in adversity. The wettest June-July on record in Iroquois County is destined to get wetter. This morning another storm rolled in and saturated Iroquois County and Watseka yet again. This one brought some hail.
Overnight, 12 people stayed here at the church building under the organization of the Red Cross that is doing a fine job. Meals will be served here as well. Tonight it looks like there will be over 50 people here. The Red Cross has cots and bedding for about 120. The hope is that we won’t need it but the forecast is for 2 more inches later today.
Crops, and roads, and basements, and the first floor of some homes are under water. KFC is an island, McDonald’s is probably going to consider moving to the East side of town and Burger King is doing a booming business because no one can get to The Table, MacDonald’s or KFC. The Ford dealership is praising God that their move to the higher east end of town is complete. Rumor has it that there is a run on kayaks at Big R!
People are hurting. Families are displaced. The water has been cruelest to the poorest sections of our little town and it is a good time for the Church (big C) to rise up with the love of Christ. And that is exactly what I have been seeing and hearing the Church do.
Some pastors have called us and asked if there is anything they can do to help us deal with the crush of people. Most meals are being taken care of through the Red Cross and Celebrations but churches in the area as far away as Gilman Iilinois and Kentland Indiana have arrived with bottled water and a multitude of snacks to help volunteer workers and displaced families cope with the boredom of a place to stay but nowhere else to go. And then there is the anxiety of not knowing what you have to go back to when the flood waters recede along with the emotional strength to begin the clean up and restart of your life.
People are going to need a lot of help. But the family of God is rising up. Loving on people. Giving kindness and smiles and food, and a safe place to sleep. Inviting to church. Praying with the the grief stricken. Sharing the good news of Christ and giving counsel to the confused. And other reports are coming in. Here’s just one from Deb Burton:
Someone recently told me that the reason they don’t go to church is because Sunday is their only day off and they feel they can worship just as well at home. And I’m telling you I belong to a church where we don’t just worship God by singing songs and listening to a sermon and hearing a few announcements. I belong to a church where we’re family, where we pray for each other, lift each other up, encourage each other, and even at 1:00am and again on a lazy Sunday afternoon, come to your home with sump pumps, shopvacs, buckets, mops, and a dehumidifier to get the water out of your basement when you don’t have the energy or strength to do it yourself. What a blessing to be part of a church like that. It’s not just being someplace other than home on a Sunday. It’s being part of a FAMILY.
It’s hard to tell you how encouraging that kind of report is to a pastor’s ears. So keep us and your community in prayer and do everything we do in the name of Christ for the glory of Christ and the result will be that many people are served. Celebrate the beauty of the church being The Church.