We have been deluged with floods here in Indiana. I was among those unable to get home from the South Indiana Conference last Saturday, due to the roads north all being closed by the time I left Bloomington. So Marsha and I spent an extra night in Bloomington and still had to detour around the flooded roads to get home. More rains came last night, and it seems that we are having one flood after another. What was just an inconvenience for me was a real tragedy for too many others.

I am writing this e-mail to ask for everyone to pray for those impacted by these floods, and I am also writing to ask for a “Second Flood” of compassion and giving. Let me explain. When we went through the terrible flood of 1997 in the Dakotas, which included the total flooding of the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, we experienced what we called the “Second Flood” of compassion, generous response, work teams to help us clean up, and especially a flood of prayers. It was that “Second Flood” which helped us to survive, to move beyond being “victims” to being “survivors.”

During those difficult times, we all learned to cling to Psalm 124 where we are assured:

“If the Lord had not been with us, then the flood would have overwhelmed us.”

The Psalmist was probably talking about the “flood” of an invading army, but still that Psalm reminds us that it is the presence of the Lord which keeps us from being overwhelmed by disasters of any kind. Disasters happen, and we are flooded, but we are not overwhelmed because of the presence of the Lord especially as that presence is experienced through the help of others.

So now is the time for United Methodists and other people of good will in Indiana to join together in prayer, in financial gifts, in work teams, and in support for those who have been impacted by the floods. Let us help them with a “Second Flood” of compassion, and let us help them to know that the flood will not overwhelm them because the Lord and the Lord’s people are standing with them.

from Bishop Michael J. Coyner
Indiana Area of The United Methodist Church