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September 7, 2017

The world has surely watched in amazement as Americans respond to those who are suffering from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.   This unprecedented storm (now threatened to be unseated by Irma!) has left hundreds of thousands of homes and many businesses destroyed.    50 inches of unrelenting rain, polluted water and violent winds devastated a vast, heavily populated area.   Texas, that state known for its independence, bravado and wealth, has been brought to its knees by an unleashed natural phenomena.

Not that long ago a President, quoting the United Nations, publicly proclaimed the U. S. A. to no longer be a “Christian” nation.   Canada was next.  Personal preference, the growth of foreign religions fed by immigration,  the rise of atheism and the obvious abandonment by many of Judeo-Christian values, formed the basis for such a statement.  As sad as that is for us who cherish our history and the Christian principles that once shaped many of the basic tenants of our democracy, a ray of hope is shining through.  Kindness!

A crucial value of Christian faith and discipline is the attribute of kindness.  It is a vital part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who indwells the heart and mind of every true believer in Jesus Christ.  The theology of Christianity may be dwindling in our increasingly paganized society, but some of it is obviously hanging on, to the glory of God and the amazement of the watching world.  Truth has a way of permeating a society so that it rises to the surface in trying times – at least for a while!

We are seeing remarkable acts of kindness as hundreds, perhaps thousands, of volunteers rush to the aid of suffering Texans.  They bring tireless efforts, open wallets and helpful equipment, like boats, big trucks, fishing gear, etc.   Cruising up and down the streets, turned rivers, to help people in whatever community they may be, poor or rich and all between, they are doing their best to alleviate the suffering.  There is no barrier of class, colour, creed, cash or tongue – just need!

How encouraging it must be to weary first-responders, police, firemen, and civil servants who have faced the overwhelming task of answering emergency calls and saving those in crisis situations.  For all of their tireless efforts and essential roles, they are paid and protected by job benefits – and rightly so.  But the volunteers are just kind, caring people who have seen a huge need and jumped to it with heart, soul and hand.  It is a blessing to behold.  A wonderful, wonderful demonstration of selfless, sacrificial kindness.   It is especially comforting when in other places angry, violent thugs march the streets in response to divisive political opinions and lawless attitudes.

It is the nature of God to be kind.  He is in essence love, which is a great mercy to all of us.  It is because of love He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in payment of our sins and thus to fit us for His heaven.  Out of that great love, the effects of which still linger in some, comes the kindness we see so evident and impressive in Texas.  It seems dangerous things, like Irma, and perhaps war, are ahead.  The concept of doing to others what we want done to us, remains valid.  Let us learn to be kind to one another and to teach our children what it means.  When we cannot  lend our hand to help others, let us give what we can, prayer, thanks or money, to meet desperate need.  There seems to be plenty of opportunity all around us.

A fellow pilgrim,   Arnold Reimer


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