Church, it is the truth that sets us free. O how I wish you were free. You are not free until the truth about Crude MCHM is known. You are not free until the CDC’s 1ppm designation is properly vetted. You are not free until the shower doesn’t burn. You are not free until governmental officials stop blaming the flu for 100s of visits to the Emergency Room. You are not free until the smell is gone. You are not free until the damages are settled with Freedom Industries. You are not free until every expectant mother can drink the water without fear. Until these and other related matters are settled, you are still in a WV Water Crisis.
And yet you are free in Christ! Free to keep distributing water, even in a blue zone. Free to keep checking on vulnerable populations. Free to gather for prayer. Free to expect continued assistance (and to demand it from the Beloved Connection). Free to demand an account of governmental officials who are elected to protect the populace. Free to demand clearer reassurances from the CDC, the WVDEP, WVAM and Freedom Industries. You are free to conduct these services with dignity and kindness. You are free to gather on the Capitol steps in defense of your neighbors and neighborhoods. You are free to hold hands and sing to the God who loves the brokenhearted (Ps 34).
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit.
I want to confess and seek forgiveness of my own sin in the matter. I succumbed to the bystander effect, assuming that others were helping when I could have been helping. Please forgive me. I read your personal stories of struggling for water and did not offer encouragement. I read media reports and only 8 days letter did I send water. I did not heed the cry of the needy. I ask your forgiveness.
I also ask that we keep talking and listening: listening especially to the most vulnerable around us; listening for wisdom on what to do next; listening for God’s voice guiding us into a more holy and just way of living. We must also talk: about the real issues of living in Chemical Valley; about the full costs of ‘our way of living’; about the beauty of the hills and our love of home; about what Jesus would do. God has granted us a powerful mind and a soaring spirit. These are being tested. Let the Church rise to the test and follow the living God into a better future. Until we are all truly free…