WAR! TERRORISM! DEATH!
OUR HEARTS ARE WITH CARMEN LANE AND HER FAMILY….
It’s one of our most terrifying nightmares. You awake from a deep sleep to the smell of smoke. You know something is not right and that everyone in your family needs to get out of the house RIGHT NOW!
You drop to the floor, grabbing the shoes next to your bed and your clothes if you can and crawl to the door.
You feel the doorknob for excess heat. You don’t want to open the door if the fire is on the other side.
It’s cool, so you open the door into a smoke filled hallway. You turn away from the heat in the living areas and make your way on the floor in order to breathe. Slowly you get to the other rooms where your family is sleeping, calling out to them all the time to wake them up. You call for the dogs to join you.
God is keeping you alert and strong as you evacuate everyone through windows.
This is the scenario that Carmen and her family faced this week. All of them escaped alive. The LA. County Fire Department arrived to extinguish the flames before the whole house was destroyed.
It was over in a matter of minutes, but now the long road of rebuilding begins.
We read of devastations like this every day but it really only hits home when it happens to you or someone close to you.
Likewise we see pictures of War and Refugees, homes blasted apart by artillery shells into heaps of rubble, but it’s hard to imagine the human cost until you face it yourself.
PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD ARE RALLYING TO HELP…..
And likewise, we are working to help Carmen and her family.
We have posted some of the details of the fire in her home on our Facebook account at “Lancaster United Methodist Church” and also on our website at www.LancasterUnited.org/CarmenLaneFamily.
There is also a “Volunteer Spot” website we’ve put up listing ways you can help from cash donations, to sharing items from your home, to the purchasing of necessities.
It’s found at: bit.ly/Lane-Family-Rebuild Please use it today!
Most of all, PLEASE PRAY for Carmen Lane and her family. They will be facing not only the struggle of rebuilding, but the trauma of being so close to death, and escaping with their lives.
….PRAY TOO FOR THE PEOPLE OF PARIS, BERUIT AND ST. PETERSBURG…
…and all of them, along with thousands of others are caught in the crossfire in our 21st Century war with Terror.
Families in Paris France, Beirut Lebanon, St. Petersburg Russia, and all throughout the Middle East share the same terror and loss of their peace.
One day all is normal, people going about their daily activities, getting up, getting dressed, preparing for the day. Tourists are laughing and thinking about the next stop, the next meal, the next photograph. The frustrations of lost luggage, of mixed up reservations and less then acceptable accommodations on their minds.
Then, it’s all suddenly changed in a heartbeat.
In such times of crisis, we usually get through it with the initial adrenaline rush. We “do what we have to do” and then we face the reality of how fragile life really is.
The secure life we take for granted so often, could easily be snatched from us at any moment.
We cannot escape the fact that, not only are there accidental tragedies and horrific acts of nature, there is also a violent evil in our world that has a human face. There are hearts that thrive on the planning and carrying out not only threats but the inflicting of great pain and suffering.
Such actions always bring fear and great anxiety with them.
Yet the history of our faith shows us that it was the power of the cross that overcame all the Gods and Emperors of the Roman Empire and proclaimed a faith based on love.
True, there were many times we failed to live up to that power. But that doesn’t diminish it’s importance and it’s ultimate victory.
As we strengthen our resolve to protect human life and hopes, as we work to relieve suffering, as we open our hearts to people everywhere who are seeking peace, liberty and freedom, let us always do so from a heart filled with the Grace of God and the Forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Let us witness to the Love of God even in the face of great evil. This is what Jesus did.
Let us pray that God’s Holy Spirit will inhabit us to heal us and strengthen us for what lies ahead. And let us always bring to every situation the cosmic power of God that seeks to welcome everyone into a life of transformation and unconditional love.
This does not mean that we lower our vigilance nor shrink from our efforts to defend against terrorists and any other violent and destructive movement.
It simply means that as we work for justice and peace, we do so from a heart filled with love and hope, with forgiveness and renewal.
It means that we do not become like those so callously causing havoc and mayhem. We do not let our hearts become cold and calloused. We do not use fear to motivate and manipulate.
It means that we overcome hatred and violence not with vengeance and retribution, but instead with strength, courage and grace. For to become like them in order to defeat them, only makes us one of them. That’s when they win.
Instead we do what is necessary to protect the innocent, and if necessary, to restrain and eliminate the danger an aggressor brings, so that all may see the glory of God’s love, even in a time of war and terror.
What are your highest highs and lowest lows this week?
What scripture has stayed with you this week?
What have others learned about Jesus Christ because of you?
How goes it with your soul?
Grace and Peace,