“When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”

Genesis 9:14-15

In June of 2008, many regions of Wisconsin were declared disaster areas due to flooding, but few of us can truly relate to what is happening in Houston, and other areas of Texas and Louisiana. It is a disaster of almost Biblical proportions. When we think of the flood of Noah, we often treat it as a myth or fairy tale – a big boat bobbing over waves, carrying clean, happy animals two-by-two. We seldom relate to the terror, anxiety, relentless buffeting, and exhaustion of people enduring a natural disaster. Yet, that is what is needed in this case.

Reminiscent of hurricane Katrina, hundreds of thousands of lives will never be the same. Oh, for many, property may be restored or rescued, and for the fortunate that escape death or injury, life may one day get back to “normal,” but these flood waters change everything at a fundamental and lasting level. Life will always be different. There will be a before; and there will be an after.

What will after look like? My prayer is that after will be the time when those most affected will discover how much they are loved – how much people care about them. I pray that they will be surrounded by circles of generosity and grace, from family to friends to neighbors to communities to churches to systems to faceless millions who give unselfishly to care for the devastated, the dislocated, and the dispossessed. I pray that we will rise in Christian witness to offer caring and support and healing to those broken and battered. I pray that in the face of natural disaster, United Methodists all around the world (and especially in Wisconsin) will rally to be the body of Christ to those suffering and in desperate need.

Remember, when one suffers, we all suffer. But there will come a time to rejoice! Brothers and sisters, please let us join together to give as much as we can to extend grace and healing to those in need. Be in prayer with me – pray without ceasing for safety and comfort, for peace and strength. As the flood waters crest and recede, let our abundant generosity swell and spill over. These are our brothers and sisters, looking for a sign of covenant that God’s grace will shine again. May it shine in and through us! To offer your support, read message from UMCOR.

Grace and Peace,

Bishop Hee-Soo Jung