This is sort of long - but I thought it was a GREAT response to the hurricane by our President of LTS R. Robert Cueni.
The Psalmist penned the words to describe the Hebrew people's overwhelming despair after being marched into exile. An enemy far more powerful than they could reasonably resist had conquered them. They had been forced out of their homes. They left behind most of their personal belongings. No longer could they look out on the familiar landscapes of home. They did not know when or even if they would ever return home. With each passing day, fewer and fewer found the strength to muster the courage to hope. The psalmist describes it this way: "By the waters of Babylon, we sat and wept."
Barbara Jones, Regional Minister for congregations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in hurricane ravaged Mississippi and Louisiana quotes the Psalmist in an email today to describe her own sense of being overwhelmed at one of the worst, if not the very worst natural disaster in history of this nation.
"By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept." In quoting those words, Barbara Jones, touches something deep within each us - this growing sense of being overwhelmed, helpless, even made hopeless in the face of circumstances beyond our control.
With many of you, I have struggled all week to find an appropriate way, particularly for LTS to respond. My first instinct, to encourage a group from the seminary to head south and help, was quickly jettisoned by the reality that New Orleans does not need a group of well-intentioned, but untrained, unskilled people trying to help but really getting in the way. While you and I might not be able to do much, there are some things we who feel overwhelmed can do - not the least of which is praying and weeping.
In the midst of the frustration of wanting to do something to help, but not knowing what to do, remember there is the opportunity to pray for and to weep with the suffering. Don't underestimate that as a contribution. There is something greatly to be valued in prayer; something healing about weeping with those who weep. Indeed, "By the waters of Babylon, we sat down and wept."
He goes on to mention the Week of Compassion, a direct relief arm of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) which is a much more organized and worthy way of giving time, or utilizing them as a resource to help in any way you can. www.weekofcompassion.org And as he said, prayer & weeping are not to be underestimated as a contribution. Therefore I will pray, and weep with them.