Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Remembering Hurricane Katrina and the Aftermath of Disaster

            Do you remember Hurricane Katrina? What was it? 

In 2005, one of the largest hurricanes ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico was slated to hit New Orleans. But after it came ashore, at first, the news reports were that the area had not been hit as hard as they had feared. Then after 24 hours, there was a devastating development. 

The dams and levies that were supposed to protect the city of New Orleans and the surrounding parishes broke down and water poured into people’s homes and flooded the streets of the city. For days, there were heartbreaking scenes of people stranded on rooftops, and finally the National Guard was called in to organize a relief effort for those who had lost their homes.

After that, much has been done to help the people of the besieged region. Lessons were learned to help people during disasters and floods. 

How are they doing after Hurricane Katrina? Go online and look up Presbytery of South Louisiana. Find out what people did to help their neighbors. Like a Phoenix rising out of the ashes, some of the work that has been done in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina shows the power of prayer, the power of people and the resilience of a community coming together and working to heal and to rebuild.

What are some of the lessons learned from disasters such as Hurricane Katrina?

There is strength in unity. The power of people and the power of love in community and working together to heal have made all the difference for the hard hit areas of Hurricane Katrina.

 Do you know of a recent disaster such as a flood or other natural occurrence where you or your family have seen pictures of people  struggling to cope with problems such as loss of their home or injuries when a bad storm or tornado has occurred? 

What do you think you might be able to do to help? As an individual or as a family? Or perhaps through your church or school? 

Have you ever helped to organize an effort to help those in need?

What is Shrove Tuesday?

Here's a definition for Shrove Tuesday: It's a day in February that precedes Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Some countries serve pancakes, and others will have a carnival day. Mardi Gras is one of the most famous of these celebrations, also known as “Fat Tuesday”, which represents a day of feasting and eating that precedes the fasting period of Lent. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”.

The word “Shrove” comes from “Shrive” or absolve.  It is often presented as a special time to examine wrongs, a need to repent, and to make amends or reflect on some areas that might need self-examination or spiritual growth. 

Can you think of something you need to do to make amends on Shrove Tuesday?

What is Ash Wednesday?

What is Ash Wednesday? It is the day Christians mark as the beginning of the Lenten Season. Lent is a time for reflection as it leads to Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Our Pastor will have ashes-made from burned palm fronds that we used last year on Palm Sunday. The Pastor takes the ashes and makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of the people in the congregation. The text from Genesis 3:19 reminds us: “From dust you are and to dust you shall return.”

What do we do to observe Lent? Some people still fast. Fasting is simply drinking water and eating only after sundown during the season of Lent. Many people will observe Lent by making other sacrifices, such as not eating meat or sweets, or making a vow to abstain or stop a bad habit they have formed. Lent is a season that we, as Christians, observe as a time to reflect on Jesus and the sacrifices he made for us.

Can you reflect on a time that you made a sacrifice for someone you loved?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Verse from Matthew

As I was going through the Liturgical Calendar, the passage from Matthew had resonance for me. There are times we all need a boost. Or perhaps a Reminder that our lives matter to God. That in God's eyes, you are the Salt of the Earth and the light of the world. 

We all need reminders from time to time that our lives matter. And in the scheme of things, we can make a difference to many lives. It's a good mantra to recite this week. Each day-when you wake up and look at yourself in the mirror, keep this reminder in mind: YOU are the Salt of the Earth. And YOU are the Light of the world. In God's eyes, you are everything.