Friday, 21 December 2012 00:00
The story of Christmas is not one in which a mighty emperor arrives on a mighty steed but rather one in which God identifies fully with ordinary people huddling in the dark: a young mother in labor, an anxious father, a baby born in a barn. Many of us recently huddled together in the dark when a storm took away the lights, phones, and warm homes we took for granted.
In the wake of the Superstorm Sandy, Long Islanders rallied to help one another. Neighbors checked in on each other, lent tools and shoulders to cry on, and took in friends and relatives who needed shelter. A church in Massapequa offered their sanctuary to a synagogue that was badly damaged and hauled 94 bags of groceries to our Freeport pantry, knowing that many people lost food due to flood and power outages. Church World Service quickly delivered a truckload of disaster response kits—packed by churches across the nation—to our Riverhead office. The United Church of Christ had clean-up suits, gloves, goggles, and masks delivered to us in Freeport to help folks muck out homes. The Islamic Center of Long Island collected food and blankets for the LICC to distribute in Hempstead. All sorts of people did everything they could to help.
Long ago the prophet Isaiah said that the worship God most wants us to offer is the work of defending “the widow, the orphan, and the sojourners among you”—in other words, the most vulnerable members of our society, the people the LICC helps every day, those whose lives were a disaster even before the storm. Jesus taught that nations will be judged on the basis of how we care for “the least of these” brothers and sisters.
Thank you for everything you have done this year to help your neighbors in need.
The Rev. Thomas W. Goodhue
Long Island Council of Churches