Thanksgiving after the storm: Reflections on life and faith

Meredith Flynn —  November 26, 2012

HEARTLAND | Excerpted from Baptist Press

Thanksgiving in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has prompted new reflections on life and faith among those who were impacted and those who came to their aid:

“God used the fury and destruction of Hurricane Sandy to give this pastor, our church, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and others the opportunity to walk the talk, get outside the walls of the church and be Jesus to those in need,” said Don Knotts, pastor of Wayside Southern Baptist Church in Buckhannon, W.Va. His church hosted Southern Baptist feeding units in the aftermath of a crippling snowstorm connected to the hurricane.

“This year as we give thanks to God for His many blessings, many West Virginians, me included, will remember things often taken for granted. Things like electricity, hot water, hot meals and the people who work hard to make sure we have them. And a special thanks for selfless volunteers who came to minister, in the name of Jesus, in a time of great need.”

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“… We live in a community that often appears to have no real tangible needs. By in large, people in our community have what they need and more,” Sterling Edwards, pastor of Ecclesia Church of East Islip and Crossroads Church in Farmingdale, wrote. “People in our community work hard. They fight to make ends meet. But all in all, the majority of people in our community are quite comfortable.

“So when something like Hurricane Sandy comes along, it reveals a vulnerability. It reveals that there are needs. But this storm has provided us an opportunity to share with our community that food, shelter, clothes and gasoline are not the only needs that we have. We have been able to share that Jesus Christ has met our absolute greatest need.”

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Ray Parascando, pastor of Crossroads Church on Staten Island, was among the first responders in a community hit particularly hard by the hurricane. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy I’ve been reminded how easy it is to take for granted the comforts of home like food, electricity and phone. More impactful is the sobering realization that every day of life which God gives is truly a gift,” Parascando wrote to Baptist Press.

“In just one wave, everything that is dear to your heart: people, possessions and property can be destroyed. These are facts that all of us know well but these same facts easily get lost in the grind of life. I’ve been challenged once again to make every day count and to wisely number my days with family, friends and the faith.

“Thanksgiving this year will be more significant than in past years for sure. I’ve been convicted to live with an attitude of gratitude regardless of the many storms that life may bring my way.”

For more Hurricane Sandy reflections, go to BPNews.net.

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.