By August 28, 2017 Read More →

Mondays with Pete — August 28, 2017

 Good morning;
          I awoke earlier than usual this morning.  Instead of rushing right into my getting-ready-to-go-to-work mode, I sat for a few minutes watching more of the tragic news of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey.  The before and after pictures of the damage and flooding have bombarded us for a few days now. Images of reporters standing out in the rain and wind for dramatic television coverage while warning people not to get out in the dangerous weather always make me question their integrity.  Cars drive by in the camera shot behind them and honk to be sure they are seen on TV.  Then there are the interviews with people in desperate situations, showing the human tragedy of the storm.  Another thought runs through my mind as I ask out loud to the reporter.  Why aren’t you helping instead of getting a story for the best ratings?  But I guess the viewing public wants to see all that or no one would watch and there would be no reporting.
          But, even in the midst of the all the tragedy, rating races and things we shake our heads at, I found something refreshing given all the division, discord and conflict in our country today – the images are shown over and over again of neighbors helping neighbors.  A call went out in the affected areas for people with boats to go out and check on those who might be trapped or need help.  Story after story of people helping others for no other reason than to help someone in need regardless of the categories that have divided us captured my attention.
          In a nation that seems to have lost its sense of purpose, its sense of unity, its sense of cooperation, its sense of community, its sense of looking beyond self to the needs of others and community, that spark of the goodness and compassion has not gone completely out.  When push comes to shove and tragedy hits the spark is ignited again into a desire to help regardless of the boundaries and divisions that have so severely divided our country. 
Is it a Utopian dream to think and pray that this spirit will help break down through some of the deep divisions and bring us back together again at least in some small way?  Maybe these images can serve as an encouragement to all of us to begin healing the fractures in our American society in our own relationships and communities.  Maybe.  Just maybe.
As we pray for those directly affected by the storm – victims, emergency responders, and neighbors – also pray that the scenes of people helping people could somehow be a motivation for all of us to pull our nation back together and begin to restore us the greatness we once had.  Pray that God would touch hearts so deeply that we would be called to put self behind the needs of others and the greater good of society.
“For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, “that we should love one another…..By this we know love, that, he laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”  (1 John 3: 11, 16-18)
Rev. J. Pete Hyde
Santa Rosa Beach Community Church


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