Over the 17 years of my ministry here at New Durham Chapel, there have been many weather-related events that have been of great challenge to us. In 2011 it was hurricane Irene, followed in 2012 by hurricane Sandy. We have also had five or six monster snowstorms that have shut down our church ministries. We have over the last year and ½ been dealing with a very difficult cultural situation with this worldwide pandemic, that has had a significant impact on the ministry here. But this past Wednesday evening, when the remnants of Ida blew through, I was shocked by the destruction and devastation that was brought about by the storm. When I left the house on Thursday morning to go to the gym at 5 AM I stopped at the church to check to see if we had taken in any water. When I saw the pool of water around the sump pump, I knew that we were in deep trouble. In fact, I have never seen so much water in the church basement. The whole church basement was covered by about 2 inches of water. If I remember correctly, the remnant left over from both Irene and Sandy I was pretty much able to clean up myself. But on this occasion, I knew that there was really very little I could do by myself. I am very thankful for the church servants who came and began working in the church basement on Thursday morning into the evening and begin pumping the water out of the basement. As of this writing on Thursday afternoon there are currently 4 of my brothers diligently working to clean up the mess in the basement. I am most thankful for their service in this endeavor.
The New Testament talks about the fact that we are all members of one body. We read in 1st Corinthians, “Now there are many members, but one body. That there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it,” (12:20,25-27 NASB). I think it’s very important at this point to be aware of the fact that we are members of one another. I’m thankful that I didn’t hear any serious injuries in our church from the storm, but I am aware one of our church family had to be evacuated from her home. Hopefully and prayerfully she will be able to return to her home soon. Over the course of the last year and ½, we have had a significant number of our church family that has tested positive for Covid 19. I am thankful that for the most part most of those cases have not been serious, but we also feel one another’s pain when we hear of one of our brothers or sisters being diagnosed with Covid.
Caring for one another also entails being involved in each other’s lives. Paul tells us in Galatians, “Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ,” (6:1 NASB). In order to bear one another’s burdens, we need to know what they are. That also involves people being willing to share the burdens that they’re struggling with. If someone has an issue, but they don’t make anyone aware of it it’s impossible for us to help bear that burden. In the body of Christ, we are to minister to one another and to be Jesus’ hands and feet to those in need. We may need to look at better ways we can communicate with one another to be able to share each other’s burdens. But for now, I’m very grateful for those who are here working and ministering to help clean up the burden in the church basement. All praise be to our great and kind Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who gives us many opportunities to bear one another’s burdens.
In Christ’s service,
Pastor Rich Sivo