The Church and Natural Disasters

It’s been over two years since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. What followed was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Nearly a million people were forced out of their homes and 20,000 died. Within a few hours, churches and relief agencies, many of whom were faith based, responded. What made this unlike any previous disaster was that the relief agencies were faced with assisting one of the richest nations in the world. In a recent article in Christianity Today, the author posed the question that many in the disaster relief community found themselves asking: “What do Christians uniquely bring to a materially wealthy nation struck by massive natural disasters…” in addition to the material aid, faith based agencies recognized that there were 3 neglected area of relief they could offer:Church

  • Spirituality – As workers prayed, listened and served, people were interested in their motivations.
  • Story – Efficiency is the mark of most agencies, but how the aid was delivered (the story) was equally important.
  • Sustainability – Local Christian churches have tried to maintain and sustain support, long after most agencies have gone.

On Sunday, we examined Psalm 46. There are some great verses to memorize in that psalm. Each of the 3 stanzas describes a world on the outside that is out of control, with a quiet center where peace and stillness reign. Like the church in a land where a nuclearized tsunami is at work, Christians can offer the refuge of God, calling people to be still and know Him. Michael and Sue performed a piano duet. The children’s story was done under the blanket. You had to be there. Maybe you were.