Disasters. They happen all over the world. Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, and famines strike, often without warning, sometimes so slowly that we don’t realize it’s happening until we are in the midst of one. When disasters happen, you can be sure of this: people in the churches of America will respond. Christian organizations will be ready with disaster relief within hours. It could be said that caring for others in such times is part of our faith DNA.
From the beginning days of the Church we see God’s people acting to help fellow believers during difficult times. Believers lost jobs and were disowned by families for turning to Christ. Believers with means supported those who were without. In today’s reading, prophets in Antioch predicted a famine throughout the Roman world. The reaction was swift. “The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.” (Acts 11:29) We should note that the disciples in Antioch had to deal with some gut level problems with the disciples in Judea. They may have been made to feel like second class followers of Christ by the leaders in Jerusalem since they were Gentiles. Yet when they saw that brothers and sisters might be in trouble, they responded out of love and commitment.
Disasters may be large scale, like noted above. Sometimes families have disasters: a death, job loss, illness. God’s people are there to help. As we have gone through our personal disaster we have been the recipients of much grace, goodness, and support. It has been a Christian habit to support those in need and when we do that, we show God’s grace to the recipients and we proclaim to the world the loving nature of our God.
Lord God, disasters may be large or small. Give me wisdom and guidance to help others as You would help them. When I and my brothers and sisters help others, may we always do so out of Your love and grace.