I absolutely hate that I am writing this post. I think we are all still stunned from the Boston bombings on Monday. At least I know I am. Then last night happened. A factory in the town of West, TX exploded. I am sure you have seen it all over the news by now. I live in Waco which is about 15 minutes south of West. This happened to my community.
I sat last night watching images of the mushroom cloud, listening to the evacuation centers be listed and seeing tragedy in my own community. Ironic how I talked about running in my own backyard a few days ago. Footage of injured and debris were crossing the screen, my phone was ringing, and my Facebook feed was littered with posts of people I know trying to contact friends and relatives near the blast sight. Didn't this just happen a few days ago in Boston? Dear God. The entire world seems to be on fire.
I have had that feeling several times in my life.
The world was on fire when I was in 5th grade and the tragedy happened at the Branch Davidian compound outside of Waco. Again in my own back yard.
The world was on fire when I was in high school and the Columbine shooting happened. It seems like that fire is still going...
The world was on fire on September 11th when I was a sophomore in college and the whole world shook. My dad was on the border of Pakistan and Afganistan when it happened. He was there for 11 weeks providing pastoral support for those involved with the issue of two American women imprisoned by the Taliban.
The world was on fire with disasters like the tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Haiti to name a few.
The world was on fire when I dropped my daughter off at kindergarden and came home to see the news of the shooting at Sandy Hook.
The world was on fire this past Monday with the events in Boston.
I know someone whose house was destroyed in the blast last night. My friend Melissa is a chaplin at a local hospital and worked providing care and support to victims and their families. Several other friends of mine are ER nurses in area hospitals helping treat the wounded. So many people came out to help they had to be turned away. I love this community. We are all in this together.
Our church opened up it's doors along with many others to house those whose homes are gone. We have been serving coffee and breakfast to those in the hospital waiting rooms and those who are on the ground in West. Churches are gathering together to provide shelter , practical needs, and support for our community. The Church serves because we are all in this together.
Baylor students are putting together care packages with toiletries and other necessitites. Hardware stores in our area opened up last night in case anyone needed building materials or supplies. Restaurants are donating food to responders.They rallied because we are all in this together.
A man I saw interviewed had pulled 16 people from a nursing home destroyed from the blast. Many of them elderly who were unable to leave their beds and were covered with debris and fallen ceiling materials. He was one of many who ran into the danger to help. He ran because we are all in this together.
Despite the danger and heartache, we are all in this together. The world may be on fire, but we are all doing our part to help. To everyone in the Waco area who has been up all night trying to find survivors and help victims, thank you. To everyone who has been praying around the world, thank you.
The world is full of chaos. Tragedy, disaster, loss and unthinkable violence sometimes. But in the middle of it all is a God who can hold the mess together and comfort those who have suffered unimaginable loss.
So, maybe you are sitting here like me. Watching the world burn in front of you. Maybe you are wondering as I am exactly how things like this can keep happening. Wildfires of violence, natural disaster and political unrest.
What do we do when the world is on fire? We help put it out together. And we pray for Rain.