Did you know that the name Katrina means purification? I didn't know that either until I went down to Louisiana this last week. A group from our college class went down to help with some of the rebuilding. They say you never know devastation until you see it first hand. I think I would have to agree with that.
Parts of New Orleans looked like a war zone - faces of buildings blown off, roofs missing, cars flipped and stacked at awkward positions, and a haunting layer of dust covering it all. Houses on the bay, extinct. Boats in the middle of the neighborhoods lie at strange angles as if they had been pulled up out of the water like a toy and tossed carelessly onto the land.
This storm didn't affect just the land, houses, and scenery - it affected people. Many left their homes and, in essence, their lives to evacuate from the fury of the storm - only to return to find that they no longer had a home, a job - in a sense, their entire lives must be started from the ground up. Most of the houses have had to be gutted down to the bare skelleton of 2x4s or bulldozed then built back up. Belongings were worthless having sat in water for up to 12 hours . . . some thought life as they knew it was over - and it was.
But God didn't leave these people here. God didn't forget the victims of hurricane Katrina. He has raised up for Himself an army of service people from around the country and around the world to go and minister His love and grace to a people so desperate for hope. And I was greatly privileged to be a part of the rebuilding process.
The thing that bothers me, though, is that it has taken a storm of monstrous proportions to activate the troops - and I'm not talking about the American Military. Why is it that we, as Christians, have no problem sitting around while our elderly neighbor deals with a flooded basement, the person that sits next to us in church is struggling financially, or the clerk at the grocery store is fighting cancer? Why does it take a national disaster to promote us to arms, to see the needs, to do something for the "least of these"? I am guilty as well.