Give hope to our brothers and sisters
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:1-2
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, my heart goes out to the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama. During the past days, they have gone through so much. They have had an experience unlike any we in The Bahamas have ever seen.
I will not say that I can appreciate what they went through during that ferocious hurricane because I was not there. No, I cannot imagine what they felt or what they went through. Only the people who experienced the roaring winds and torrential rain of Dorian and the flooding can appreciate the horrors they went through.
Last Sunday, in church, we offered up many petitions for the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama. Yes, we joined many Christians across The Bahamas in prayer.
Like many Bahamians across The Bahamas and others around the world, as the hurricane made landfall in Abaco and subsequently in Grand Bahama, I sat transfixed to my television and watched helplessly as my brothers and sisters were terrorized by the elements. From a distance, my only assistance was my prayers and my tears.
It will take a very long time for many of those who have experienced the horror of hurricane Dorian to recover from that experience. Unfortunately, they will relive that experience over and over for years to come. For those who have lost loved ones, it will never end.
Therefore, I beseech the false prophets to be silent. When terrible things happen, it does not mean that God is punishing us for a specific sin. Job was a righteous man. Scripture says he “was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil”, yet God allowed Satan to put him through pain and suffering. (Job 1:1)
Our brothers and sisters in Abaco and Grand Bahama are hurting and are in desperate need of our support. This is a time to give them hope. We should continue to pray for them and give them pleasant words of comfort.
However, the prayers and words of comfort have their limitation. After the prayers, we should commence action. When I was in seminary, before a test, some of the seminarians would say to the professor, “I have been praying about this test all night.” He would respond, “Prayers are good, but you need to get up off your knees and study.”
James speaks to this in his epistle, James 2:14-16 – “What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”
When all of the prayers and good wishes are over, we in the Christian church here in The Bahamas need to open our wallets and help our brothers and sisters in need. That is what our Lord wants us to do.
Christianity is about generosity. It is more about giving than receiving. It is about showing love for others.
When the love of Christ truly lives in us, we show love and care through our hospitality to the people around us, especially those who are less fortunate or in need. I pray that the love of God in Christ guides us to not only pray for our brothers and sisters, but that it guides us to be generous in helping to provide for their needs. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau,119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N-4794, Nassau, Bahamas; telephone 426-9084; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or website www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.