OHIO VALLEY DISTRICT
UMCOR - Love In Action
James 2:14-17; 1 John 3:18
Dear Ohio Valley Friends,
There is a story in Harold Kushner’s book, Living a Life that Matters, about a Native American tribal leader who described his own inner struggles. He said, “There are two dogs inside me. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.” Someone asked him which dog usually wins, and after a moment’s reflection, he answered, “The one I feed the most.”
I was reminded of this story as we face the immense challenges of recovery following devastation from three monstrous hurricanes here in the U.S. and two major earthquakes in Mexico. Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented flooding to Houston and other areas of Texas, particularly startling to me since my brother’s family and the families of two Winkler cousins live in Houston in areas that were threatened with flooding. Then Hurricane Irma hammered Florida, taking aim at the newly purchased and renovated mobile home of Lynelle’s parents. Thankfully our family members weathered the storms with only minor damage. But many, many people were not so fortunate. We as a nation are still assessing the damage in Texas and Florida at the same time the increasingly desperate plight of people in Puerto Rico is becoming known with each passing day.
We feed our inner “good dog” when we take to heart the suffering of people whose lives have been upended by these disasters. We feed our inner “good dog” when we decide to do deeds that will make a difference to those who face the many hardships
disasters bring. We feed our inner “good dog” when we put our love into action. James reminds us that faith, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:17). John reminds us that we are to love not just with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).
One way we can put our love into action as United Methodist Christians is to offer our help and support for humanitarian relief offered through our United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). The Mission of UMCOR is this: “Compelled by Christ to be a voice of conscience on behalf of the people called Methodist, UMCOR works globally to alleviate human suffering and advance hope and healing.” Of particular importance is the knowledge that 100% of our support for specific UMCOR projects goes directly to that project. 100% of our dollars such as for Hurricane Harvey Recovery (Fund EOC 1310) or Hurricane Irma (Fund EOC 1320) or U.S. Disaster Response (Advance 901670) goes to that relief effort. Our apportionment dollars provide the administrative and logistical structures that allow all our designated dollars to go directly to disaster relief. In giving through UMCOR, we represent a caring United Methodist Christian presence and the very presence of God in the aftermath of a disaster.
It is true that our response as Christian people represents the very best of who we are as we live a life that matters and make a difference in the world, choosing to “feed the good dog” within us as we stand as witnesses to the presence of God in Christ to people in desperate need of courage, hope and healing.
Following Harvey’s brutal assault, heart-warming images and stories appeared on TV and in news reports. We saw brave first responders of every color assisting people of every color in scene after scene of rescue and relief. Then we saw the volunteer “Cajun Navy” – many of whom had been devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita – hook up their boats to high water pick-up trucks as they headed to Texas to assist in every way possible to the rescue efforts.
There is something about this picture that tells the story of people at their best, with courage and heart and honor united by love in action. It is heart-warming – a much needed picture of unity and teamwork at a time when we are much too divided as a church and a nation.
Can we stand together as God’s people in partnership, in teamwork, in unity of spirit and purpose?
I trust we can in Christ Jesus who brings us together and holds us together!
Ohio Valley District Office:
Rev. James Winkler
352 Canton Rd.
Wintersville, OH 43953
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
(Summer Hours beginning June 21
Monday thru Thursday
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m
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