9/11 & September 2017
by Burt Williams
Sixteen years have passed since America was attacked on 9-11-2001. Sixteen years since we noted the bravery and heroism of our police and fire departments. We fell in love with first responders that day and they are still out there serving and protecting. It will not surprise many that several of our law enforcement officers have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty during the Hurricanes that have come ashore this week and in Texas a few weeks ago. Brave men and women seeking to help those in need during difficult times. It is only appropriate that we mourn their loss and celebrate their lives this 9-11 while their colleagues continue to work on our behalf.
In the last couple of weeks and even as I am writing we have seen the toll of human suffering that comes from great and powerful storms. We have witnessed lives lost, homes and businesses destroyed and yes even churches left in ruins. Yet, what gives me hope is the stories that arise out of the flood waters. Stories of ordinary people using what they have, to help others. When you finish here click over to The United Methodist News Service most of the articles there for the next few weeks will highlight stories about our church’s work with flood victims some officially sanctioned others are just Methodist acting as they are called to do.
You will find my favorite article entitled Enlisting tech, boats for Houston rescue efforts; Here! It’s my favorite because two United Methodist take what they know and use it to help others at their point of greatest need. They saw a need and used their gifts, skills, and intelligence it to enhance the work of others. They loved their neighbors and in doing so they embodied Christ. The great commandment that the Lord Jesus gives us in John 13:34-35 is that we love one another as he has loved us and he tells us that this will mark us as his disciples. We now have the opportunity to bless the people in Texas, Louisiana, Mexico, Asia, Florida, and likely Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee in the name of Jesus Christ. We have the opportunity to show the love of Christ to those affected by the wind and flood and to be recognized as Christ Disciples.
I encourage you to give to UMCOR through your church or at http://www.umcor.org/ Learn about Emergency Response Teams and Training through our conference so you can go and help in the early days of these and other disasters at http://missionwncc.org/mission-partnerships/disaster-response/disaster-response-training/. Read what our Bishop has to say as we encounter these storms: http://wnccumc.org/bishop-leeland-and-the-committee-on-relief-hurricanes-harvey-and-irma/
We hail the heroes of 9-11-2001 and those of September 2017, those who serve in uniform and those that serve a risen savior and embody his love for us as they care for our neighbors in ways big and small. Take your talents, take what you know, what you can do and use it in the service of others in the name of Jesus Christ.
Burt Williams is the pastor of North Morganton UMC in the Catawba Valley District.