Hospitality on Display

Saturday night into early Sunday morning on June 17, caught many of us in Tulsa off guard. It’s not uncommon in Oklahoma to see a line of thunderstorms barreling our way from the western reaches of the state. We get thunderstorms that often pack a punch, but this storm was one for the books. As common as a thunderstorm is, 100mph straight-line winds are not something we see every year - or even every decade.

When I looked out my front door at 1:00 am I could tell there was going to be a lot of damage, but the morning light gave way to a sight that was frankly jaw-dropping. It was like a small hurricane swept through our landlocked city (which makes the University of Tulsa’s mascot a lot more relevant) and toppled trees, snapped light polls, and left most of us without power just as the summer heat arrived. It was a solid week before power was restored at my home, and there was nearly an actual ton of green waste sitting on my front lawn (half of it is gone at least).

I am just one of the thousands of Tulsans experiencing this exact same scenario, and considering the lack of property damage we experienced, we haven’t had it all that bad. There are those, even within our church, that have faired far worse, and some didn’t realize the scope of damage until a day or two after because they were unaffected.

Seeking to Show Hospitality

Anyone who has ever lived through a natural disaster in Oklahoma knows that when tragedy strikes neighbors just tend to jump into action. I am sure there are examples of this all over the world, but I’ve only ever lived in the South and Midwest, so I’ll speak from my limited scope - Southern and Midwestern people are always ready to help.

There are countless stories of men and women offering up their homes, their freezers, their own generators or power tools, time, energy, and equipment to help neighbors in need. Once I was able to get my own bearings (and cell service!) I was able to reach out to our Mercyview Gospel Community leaders to see how they and their groups were doing. Thankfully the damage within our church family was not widespread, but where I thought an opportunity might arise to coordinate relief efforts for folks within the body, every report I’ve received back was the same. “We had this or that in our group; so and so doesn’t have power; these folks lost some trees,” and all followed by, “Our group has stepped in and these folks are staying here, this person was able to put their food in so and so’s fridge.”

The place where the people of Mercyview turned, was to one another. As a church, we honored the word of the Lord that we studied in Romans 12:13 just a couple of months ago, “Contribute to the needs of the saints, and seek to show hospitality.” That was the first thing that came to mind as I read the reports from partners, again and again saying the same thing, “We have what we need, because of our Gospel Community; because this person we knew from church - they have generously met our need.”

My family personally benefited from the same hospitality, the same generous sharing of people’s homes, their food, and their cooler to keep our groceries from going bad. This is what it looks like to be the church; this is what genuine community is made of. This is the fruit of discipleship being worked out in the lives of God’s people in this local church, and it is such an encouraging thing to see.

Want to Get Involved?

As I mentioned above, it seems that most of our church was spared the worst effects of the storm, but maybe you have a need we don’t know about yet. Perhaps you would like to help meet any needs that arise.

You can let us know one way or another on this Google form. The last question is also an opportunity for us to share what God has done, as a way to give thanks for his goodness and mercy. If you have a story to share, please let us know. I would love to be able to share some of those with the church in the weeks to come.
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