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THE TIME FOR THE TRUTH / KATRINA, PHASE FOUR
June 1, 2007
 
This morning's eMo is actually two different meditations on texts that will be read in many churches this Sunday. The first is the usual sermon preparation eMo. The second, intended for preachers who wish to focus their congregations' attention on the Church's work among the poor and those who suffer from natural disasters, explores an aspect of Episcopal Relief and Development's ministry. As with all the eMos, preachers and teachers are welcome to borrow, with the usual attribution. No further permission is necessary.

The Time for the Truth

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
John 16:12


Your teenager or young adult, skating dangerously close to the edge of something that could really do him harm. He rolls his eyes and says you worry about nothing.

Your spouse, who drinks himself to sleep every night, and lashes out at you when you confront him about it. He says you can't tell him what to do.

Your dearest friend, headed for the altar with a 45-year-old teenager, again. She says you just don't know what it's like to be in love.

Just because something's true doesn't mean it will convince the one to whom you offer it. It may be an idea whose time has not yet come. Many people can only learn the hard way; they won't take your good advice because they just can't receive it yet.

The disciples who would lead the early church were very different people from the wrong-headed bunch who surrounded Jesus during his earthly ministry and immediately following the resurrection. Jockeying for position and preference, competing with one another, violent at times and cowardly at others, they all needed a fair amount of work. But they would become people who led with wisdom and courage -- according to our tradition, almost all of them found the courage to die a martyr's death.

We're not the only people active in our formation. Go ahead and speak your truth to the one you love: it may be that they can hear it, even if they can't receive it yet, that later on they will remember what you tried to say. The Holy Spirit is at work in us, too. It prepares the ground of us to receive the seeds of whatever wisdom we will grow while we are here.

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Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8 or Canticle 2 or 13
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15
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And here is the ERD meditation:

Katrina, Phase Four

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance
produces character, and character produces hope, and hope
does not disappoint us...
Romans 5:3


You hear it when something terrible happens: "If it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger." Sometimes, though, that strengthening is preceded by a time of weakness and confusion -- people go into shock when tragedy strikes, and not everyone rallies at the same pace. Some people are cool and capable during the crisis itself, only to surprise and dismay themselves months or even years later with nervousness, depression, wakefulness, fears that seem to come from nowhere. What on earth is wrong with me? they say to themselves. I survived Katrina, for heaven's sake. Why am I suddenly afraid to go to sleep at night?

Episcopal Relief and Development's 4-phase plan for Katrina recovery is in its fourth phase: long-term assistance in recreating the community systems of support that will enable citizens of the hurricane-damaged area to find their way back home in all ways, including the mysterious spiritual path to healing from the terrible thing that happened to them in 2005 and continues to echo in their lives today. Trained counselors work among survivors and recovery volunteers in local churches and in the work camps along the Gulf Coast, with both the time and the skill to listen and guide people back into control of their own lives.

We can't be hopeful if we don't think our own actions will make any difference in our lives -- that way lies only despair. To regain hope is a matter of healing from the shock of tremendous pain and loss. And it's something better done in community than attempted alone.
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To learn more about Episcopal Relief and Development's programs for disaster relief, visit www.er-d,org or telephone 1-800-334-7626, ext 5129.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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