The Blessing Community

On May 3rd, 2018 the Kilauea Volcanic Eruption began spewing lava and rocks into people’s backyards in Puna. Over the ensuing weeks lava flowed over houses, roads, and entire neighborhoods. Thousands were displaced.

Kilauea-volcan-fissure-8-lava-fountainThe eruption continues. There is no end in sight. Land and memories continue to be consumed by lava. People are hurt, mourning, and desperately in need of way forward, a path towards recovery.  However, you can’t rebuild during an ongoing disaster or in the middle of an active lava field.

All of this is stressful. It is stressful on the people whose houses have been destroyed, some of whom are still living in emergency shelters. It is stressful on those who live near the eruption and are dealing with bad air and contaminated water. It is stressful on government, non-profits, and churches who are called on to offer hope and help.

Hope is in short supply at the moment. Help is not. The local communities of faith, who have been working over the last few years to address family homelessness, are taking action. Buddhists, Mormons, Unitarian Universalists, Jews, Protestants, and Catholics are all working together to provide volunteers, meals, relief supplies, pastoral care, temporary shelter, housing, and more to those impacted by the disaster.

Full recovery from this disaster lies many years into the future. There are no quick fixes. Most victims will never return to their homes, which are buried in an active lava field. Victims are stuck waiting and feeling hopeless while government and others work on a recovery plan.

What hope exist is found in the inter-religious cooperation of our faith communities. Their prayerful action and deep faith provides inspiration during these difficulty times. Their willingness to set aside differences in order to respond effectively to suffering is the living reality of a Blessing Community.

Eventually, a recovery plan will come together. It won’t be perfect. Some will be able to rebuild and start anew. Others will struggle. A few will never recover.

People of faith can’t do everything. However, when they work together they can offer hope and healing — Blessing — to all, even in the most difficult of situations.

Peace, Paul

Photo: Public Domain Photo from USGS

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