First, I would like to assure you that both Matthew and I are safe, as is our home. We were both able to see the tornado from our separate locations, Matthew from our front porch and Jess, from the windows of St. Vincent's. We are very blessed and intend to pour out these blessings on those less fortunate.
Last weekend we celebrated Easter and the rising of our Savior with friends and family. It seems so long ago after the events of this week. I find it a comfort however that in our disaster we are reminded of our risen Savior. We serve a God who humbled himself and became human. We serve a God who wept over lost loved ones, who was homeless himself, who suffered beatings and rejection, and who died for our sins in a gruesome crucifixion. We serve a God of compassion and understanding, a God who has suffered the same pains and emotions we experience now. Ultimately though, we serve a God of hope as the Resurrection at Easter reminds us. This life is not the perfection of creation nor the end. We take up this hope and continue to move forward knowing that God is with us, our God of compassion, understanding, hope and salvation.
"Remember that when Jesus died the earth shook & the rocks were torn in pieces, while the sky darkened at noon. God the creator will not always save us from these dark forces, but he will save us in them, being with us in the darkness & promising us, always promising us, that the new creation will one day be complete..." -N.T. Wright
Now we find ourselves worshipping through service. Matthew has been organizing and working with his friends at Best Buy to help in the relief efforts. They get up early work until curfew. They have cleared debris, given out drinks, car chargers and pillow pets; they've grilled out to feed those without food in our area. They have given of themselves as many people in Alabama and across the country have. We have had a flood of volunteers and donations. Please continue to keep them coming and keep Alabama in your prayers. This will be a long road. As our mayor Walt Maddox said this is a sprint and a marathon. A sprint here at the beginning as we search to find survivors and house and meet the needs of those displaced. A marathon as we rebuild our community.
I look forward to helping with the relief efforts this week. This has been my work week and God has assured me that He needs me in Birmingham. My heart still is torn between the patients I love and the city I love. I am blessed now to have my 7 on/7 off schedule because over the next few years and months, I will be able to serve the community for a week at a time.
This Sunday at Mass, Father Holloway brought out the common theme of the church's readings this week, "Be not afraid". As we move forward, we must not be afraid and continue to trust in our God of compassion, understanding, hope and salvation. We must trust in the power of God and continue to lift Alabama up in prayer. We must be the hands and feet of Christ as we volunteer, donate and minister to those in need. We know that by relying on Him we can endure any trial, because we have His power with us. We also take courage that this is not the end. The kingdom of God is being perfected and is coming. Our God is a powerful God indeed.
"For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many." 2 Corinthians 1:8-11
God bless you and Alabama.
Matthew and Jessica