Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
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One of the enormous lessons of recovering from a disaster like the flooding from Hurricane Harvey that devastated my neighbors, my community and my church is that the disaster continues to happen long after it falls out of the news cycle. It continues to happen for years. There are people this morning living in homes that have not much improved since the initial weeks after the flooding. Resources - money, muscle, materials, skilled workers - hit a bottleneck. The most vulnerable - seniors, disabled, undocumented - lose their identity and dignity as the ones who "fall through the cracks." I have seen different kinds of dying happening since the storm. The dying of letting go and the dying of re-embracing the very things of which we claimed to have let go. Neighbors who took risks to rescue are now shunned again. The neighbors we comforted on the streets by the debris are the neighbors we go back to ignoring while they sit in houses without a kitchen. In the scope of humanity, there are those who are dealing with having no house at all, much less a kitchen. We are challenged in these days to do some dying. We are challenged to face a disaster of our own making. What does it mean to die to a way of life so that what can be restored is our hearts' capacity to love our neighbor?
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Holy God, save us from ourselves. Amen.