Location: New England, United States

Sunday, September 04, 2005

You Are Responsible for Your Hope

As I watched the devastating effects of Katrina and the news coverage of the aftermath, I held my head in shame. I cannot recall ever feeling this ashamed of my fellow Americans as I did this past week. Before you assume the cause for my shame, let me say that it was not because the relief effort was so meager or slow in coming. Although it was both those things. It was not the total lack of communication and acceptance of responsibility between the mayors, governors and the federal government, although there was plenty of that to go around, as well. No, my shame was watching an estimated one-hundred thousand people sitting on their back sides for four whole days without lifting a finger to help themselves or their neighbors.

News coverage of earthquakes in the Middle East show victims rising up and clearing debris from those neighbors still buried. Rescue efforts are started immediately even before outside help reaches the victims. The recent tsunami produced the same news footage of help and rescue by the very victims of the disaster. Even September 11th produced pictures and stories about one victim helping another victim well before relief efforts were able to reach the injured.

Where was this fellowship, this hope, this goodness in New Orleans? Where there is no goodness; evil reigns, and it certainly reigned in New Orleans. Thousands of people in the Super-Dome, and they could not stop a few from raping? Thousands of people and there were no plastic bags that could be laid out to catch the morning dew for drinking water or buckets to catch the rain that came that second night? Was there no one to share with the woman in the wheel chair who died alone? Was there no breast for a baby to suckle?

These people had lost their hope long before the Hurricane hit. They lost their hope in themselves and in God. Let me say emphatically - No one is responsible for your Hope, but you!

"Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-za'tha, which has five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your pallet, and walk." And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. Now that day was the sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, "It is the sabbath, it is not lawful for you to carry your pallet." But he answered them, "The man who healed me said to me, 'Take up your pallet, and walk.'" They asked him, "Who is the man who said to you, 'Take up your pallet, and walk'?" Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you." The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did this on the sabbath." John 5:1-16

The lame man's sin was not that he carried his pallet on the Sabbath. His sin was that he laid by the side of the pool for thirty eight years without faith; without hope. We are charged by God to have faith. Faith is a choice and if your faith is failing; stir it up just as the angel stirred up the pool of water. Faith is our choice - something that happens inside of us. Hope is a product of that Faith. Hope requires action.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo! Bravo! Americans often forget what they have. May it be the rich or poor -- it is never enough. Greed, expections, & blame. Immigrants came to America for a better life, a better chance. Some escaped from war, some from hunger, & some from religion and all to claim their own independence. Some were not so lucky, as they claim, they were not given a choice but were forced here. Shame indeed...shame on the people who take for granted the opportunity our grandfathers gave to us. They travelled 1,000's of miles of waters and dealt with sickeness and starvation. They arrived on our land with nothing and made something. It was a new beginning as they started their new life. So, to the people sitting there, helplessly doing nothing, "Get up and move on and thank God you are in America!"

3:50 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Anonymous -

Thank you for your comments and I pray that there are more people out there like you. God Bless you.

9:56 AM  

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