Wednesday, August 31, 2005

September 4 Proper 18 Click here for readings.

For years there have been warnings of how global warming will affect the weather and pleas for lowering the use of gasoline through higher mpg cars and alternative fuels. Now the impact of not paying attention to the sentinels of our time is coming home to us. Hurricanes and rising gas prices may force us to hear what has been ignored so far. It is not just the wicked who are suffering and dying - it is our planet and all of us with it. The words of Ezekiel ring true in our day.
Paul's letter to the Romans gives hope in the midst of despair. "Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers." Only when we see that we are one on this "fragile earth our island home" (BCP p. 370) and that each of our actions contributes to either building up or tearing down the community of creation will things change.
Martin Bell says that "messiah" builds community and gives life to individuals (both - not one or the other), the "demonic" tears down community and takes away life. Whose forces will we join?

To donate money to assist those who are suffering Click here for Episcopal Relief and Development. Your dollars can be in the places of need within hours.

Here is the latest news report from ERD:
ERD Responds to Hurricane Katrina

8/29/2005
[Episcopal Relief and Development]
As Hurricane Katrina leaves behind devastation in Florida and Louisiana, and closes in on Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, Episcopal Relief and Development has mobilized in support of communities affected by this disaster.

After tearing through Florida on Friday, the Category 4 hurricane regained force over the Gulf of Mexico, with winds topping 145 mph.

This morning, Katrina touched down again, just east of New Orleans, Louisiana. Hurricane–force winds caused a path of destruction 250 miles across. A million New Orleans residents avoided harm by obeying a mandatory citywide evacuation.

Seventy percent of the coastal city is below sea level, and is protected from flooding by levees and pumps. After pumps failed in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, filling the streets with six feet of water, dozens of people had to be rescued from the roofs of their houses.

Katrina is over Mississippi this afternoon. Storm surges in Gulfport, Mississippi have already plunged the city under ten feet of water. Winds tore the roofs off buildings in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Disaster officials will begin assessing the damage to Louisiana and Mississippi today.

Hurricane Katrina is one of the most destructive hurricanes ever to hit the US. Experts estimate that it could cause between $10 and $25 billion worth of damage. If the higher assessments are confirmed, Katrina will be the most expensive hurricane in US history.

On behalf of Episcopalians, ERD has sent emergency funds immediately to the Diocese of Mississippi. This emergency assistance will help vulnerable people whose homes are destroyed or severely damaged. ERD support will help the diocese provide aid to community members through two mobile response trailers, which are equipped with supplies like chainsaws and generators to assist in the recovery.

We are waiting to hear what kind of aid is most needed in Louisiana. We have also offered emergency assistance to dioceses likely to be affected as the storm moves inland, including Alabama and Tennessee. Forecasters also warn of the risk of high winds, flooding, and scattered tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

We offer our prayers for the people affected by this disaster – those whose homes are under 10 feet of water, those who have lost family members, and those whose businesses have been blown down and swept away. Please join us in praying for people affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Episcopal Relief and Development, an independent 501(c) 3 organization, saves lives and builds hope in communities around the world. We provide emergency assistance in times of crisis and rebuild after disasters. We enable people to climb out of poverty by offering long-term solutions in the areas of food security and health care, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.

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