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Katrina, Albert Einstein and Christians doing what they do

As Hurricane Earl looms off the eastern coast, and as we're on top of the fifth year anniversary of Katrina, I'm amazed at how the news coverage omits the huge response from churches around the country for several years following Katrina.
Like so many churches, our church sent a group down to New Orleans in 2007. We were working with a large church in the area that had converted one massive building into a barracks-style housing for churches to use. We all slept in a common area divided by canvass walls, ate in a make-shift cafeteria, and each day lined up to receive our day's assignments.
While we were there, perhaps as many as a half dozen people off the street--people whom we were not helping and people whom were not expressed Christians--people kept on saying to us, "Thank you for coming, we so need you. It's not the government that's rebuilding New Orleans, it's churches like you coming from around the country. Thank you!"

I can remember one morning when we were at that church that served as our base camp. One morning, the senior pastor came and addressed our group. His whole message as to thank us and say how important it was that we and other churches were involved with the relief effort. At the time, I assumed his words were graciously acknowledging our volunteer efforts, but still, just niceties.
But later in the week, as we were shopping in the downtown area, I was amazed at the gratitude expressed by the New Orleans public. On several occasions, people such as vendors and store keepers would ask who we were and what we were doing, and we would explain we were a church group coming down to help.
Now this was in 2007, two full years after the hurricane. Yet, I was amazed at how many were nearly tearful in thanking us for coming down. They all echoed the same thought, almost word for word: "It's not the government that's rebuilding New Orleans, or all these other organizations, it's the churches." They all expressed bitterness and frustration at the system, but gratitude that God's people were above political posturing and were just getting the work done.
Yet, in all the years of coverage, you'd hardly know the churches from around the country even were there. Or that we were there for years following Katrina, helping out, cleaning up, repainting, restoring, renewing. God's people were not flashy, but they were getting the work done.

This reminds me of a great quote I recently came across from Albert Einstein and how the church stood against Hitler and Nazi Germany during World War II:

“When National Socialism came to Germany I looked to the universities to defend freedom, knowing they had always boasted of their devotion of the truth. They were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials had proclaimed love of freedom. They were silenced in a few short weeks. I looked to the individual writers who had written much of the place of freedom in modern life. They too were mute. Only the churches stood squarely across Hitler’s campaign to suppress truth. I never had special interest in the church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration, because the church alone had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”

The church has always stood for what is true, right and just. Maybe not alway super popular, maybe not always with the most articulate sound bite, but God uses us to bring real ministry to a lost world. Praise God it's being done and He sees the labors of His people, even if the news corps do not.
Last modified on Wednesday, 01 September 2010 07:09
Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...