Opportunities to Be the Church

Bishop Scott Jones


There are always opportunities to be the church. The last few weeks in the southeast corner of Texas, the opportunities have been plentiful and major. I am grateful for so many who have shared the love of Christ in response to human need.

When there is a disaster, Christians respond by serving those in need. We all have questions about why bad things happen, but Christ teaches us that such questions will not be answered. In John 9:1-5 he says,

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth.  2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"  3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him.  4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.  5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Whether it is blindness, a hurricane, a flood, or not being able to read, when we see suffering, destruction, injustice or other wrongs, we are given an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ.

In verse 5 above, Jesus says that he is the light of the world. In Matthew 5:14 he says that we are the light of the world. I believe that God is active in the midst of problems like we have experienced, and sometimes that activity comes through his disciples serving others.

Some of you have rescued people from danger. Others have sheltered refugees. Others have provided food, water, clothing, diapers and supplies. More recently United Methodists have been mucking out houses. In a few places we have actually started rebuilding. Others have been giving generously of their money to enable all of those other activities to be done well. I am proud to be your bishop and help to lead our church to be the Church of Jesus Christ.

This is not a short-term response. Last week I was in a meeting where we made our plans for a multi-year process of helping those affected. Laity, pastors, volunteers and others will be involved in sharing the love of Christ with those who are in greatest need.

In the months to come we will continue to need your help. Please pray for all those affected. Please find time to work in the recovery effort in whatever ways you can. Please give generously by going either to www.txcumc.org or www.umcor.org.

While there are always opportunities to be the church, in the midst of a major disaster like Hurricane Harvey, we need to be the body of Christ and do what the Lord has commanded.