It is noon, time for the shift change for the police in New Orleans' Sixth District, on the first Sunday since Hurricane Katrina struck. Hy McEnery, a Baptist chaplain with Child Evangelism Fellowship, knows he has to encourage the officers to keep going. In the face of the unrelenting pressure, danger, and temptation caused by the chaos in the Big Easy, some officers have committed suicide. Others have joined the looters. Still more have simply left their posts.
These men, although still on the job, have been "crunched," as one puts it. The ones going off duty on this hot, sunny day look weary and smell of oily water and decayed matter. The ones coming on duty look just as weary and smell only a little better.
McEnery picks Psalm 69, which begins, "Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck," discussing the topic "Why have the waters overwhelmed me?" The officers stand quietly as McEnery tells them that God will help them "in the deep mire." Jesus, he says, can give them refreshing waters.
Work and worshipAs many Gulf churches as could tried to provide spiritual encouragement. At Woodland Park Baptist's service in Hammond, Louisiana, Leon Dunn preached on Jeremiah 29 and God's plans for his people. He said, "My idea of camping out is the Holiday Inn. But this storm didn't catch God by surprise.
"I don't care how dark the night is, let's keep helping our neighbor and keep Christ first. God has a plan. Not only God has a plan, we still have a purpose. I will be honest with you: It has been a difficult season. But our purpose hasn't changed since last Sunday. God put us here to give a cup of cold water to our brother." Woodland has so far served 18,000 meals right out of their front door (for more on this see "Glimpses ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more