Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thoughts from Tuscaloosa

Right across the street from Bryant-Denny Stadium there is a church where I like to worship when I am in Tuscaloosa for the weekend. Of course, that happens alot in the fall. But today I drove to T-town specifically to worship with that community - to worship in prayer, song, and then service. During the prayer and worship time we sang three songs. Here are two of them, and what they meant to me as I stood in the midst of the tornado's devastation:


"Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me."

This great hymn is one that I probably should wake up and sing every morning. This morning it took on new meaning. I don't believe I've ever been in a service where the people sang it with the energy and enthusiasm that I heard this morning. It was SO evident that it was coming from the heart. In the midst of seeing lives and property being destroyed all around them, they sensed that God was there, taking care of them.

This song made me think of what is happening in the short term, the hours and days following the storm. God has provided hundreds, probably thousands of people who are wanting to help. Donating money, clothes, water, food, possessions, and their time. After the service, Calvary sent people out to work in the community. I was in a group that cleared debris in a neighborhood that was unrecognizable as such. God is providing morning by morning. It was amazing to watch:
Those are some heavy tree trunks

Chainsaws and haulers

After the chainsaw did its work, Joe did his.

But the people of Tuscaloosa could well ask the rest of us, in the words of Carole King, "Will you still love me tomorrow?"


"For greater things have yet to come
 And greater things are still to be done in this city."

9/11. Katrina. Haiti. Japan. All tragedies of unbelievable scope. And all evidence that we as humans have an incredibly short attention span. It's so easy to jump on the "cause du jour" and then move on to the next one. That's why the lyrics quoted above are so important. And why the words of Calvary's pastor Tim Lovett this morning were so important. He said his church is in it for the long run, and laid out a plan to restore 25 families in the Rosedale community. That's the real work - restoring this city and bringing it greater heights than ever, as it sees the love of Christ in action.

What can I do?

After spending the day with this great community of faith, I know that a day in the trenches is not enough.  For those of you who can't make it right now - great! You can be a part of letting these people know they are not forgotten when late May, June, July, and even next May come along. Please do not forget them as time passes! When the music has faded, volunteer then.

And finally, I can give. I think this church (which is not my home church, just one I love to visit when I'm there) is a great vehicle. Why? First, they are totally debt free so they can commit that every penny designated "Tornado Relief" will go into the community. Second, because they are committed to long-term solutions. If you agree, go to and click on the "Give:Tornado Relief" link.

Greater things are still do be done in this city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I want to be part of it.

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