“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”.
These words by the Rev. Fred (Mr.) Rogers resonate deeply with folks because they ground us in grace. It’s a profound statement of hope that reminds us that in a world of hurt, bravery and generosity remain. Love will always rise up against fear and hate.
These last almost eighteen months have shown us faces of the helpers.
They are the respiratory therapists, the doctors, chaplains, and nurses… the EMTs and hospital staff. They are the folk that kept food on our shelves and kept the water running and the electric on. The list is almost endless.
The list of scary things, unfortunately, also appears to be endless.
Other helpers have stepped up these last few weeks and days. Images of pilots, flight personnel, and our military providing transport for refugees; firefighters battling flames in California; rescue workers in Haiti and now those states recovering from Hurricane Ida.
It’s not just a world of pain… it’s a world in pain, and it has caused me to reflect on where the church is in the midst of all of this.
Are we the helpers?
I know that our local congregations have responded to the pandemic by finding ways to provide help for their neighbors. They’ve built beds for children, created food programs, and provided care and comfort for those who are hospitalized. Our congregations have actively sought justice for Black lives and have challenged leadership to confront our complicity in climate change. As a Presbytery we’ve donated funds to assist individuals who face eviction as well as provided support for incoming Afghani women. Nationally, Presbyterian Disaster Service provides relief both locally and globally.
Are we the helpers? Does the community outside our walls see us as such? Do we see our own work and ministry in that light? What would it look like if the answer to both of those questions was a resounding yes?
Prayers for all those who are being helped, as well as those who rise up in love to the challenge of helping.