Monday, February 19, 2007

Failing the Least of These

In nearby Greene County, in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, a weekend house fire resulted in the deaths of six children and an adult. All of the victims died of fire-related causes, and there doesn't seem to be any sign of "foul play".

Or does there?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the home's natural gas had been shut off and that the family had been using a wood stove and space heaters while trying to get help with a weatherization program. It may be that there was indeed "foul play" in that this poor family didn't have proper heat in the dead of winter.

This horrific tragedy occurred in the poorest county in Pennsylvania, a county that is most assuredly a part of the "Appalachian poverty belt". Undoubtedly, there are many other families in the area who are suffering from this same lack of a basic necessity...heat in the midst of a cold Keystone winter.

Failures abound. The gas company should have seen to it that there was natural with any financial issues later. Somebody should have seen to it that the furnace was in good working order. The Church seems to be doing an excellent job surrounding friends and neighbors with love as they mourn, but where were we prior to the fire? It may well be that area Christians were working overtime to get proper heat for this family; I really don't know, and do not want to assume anything.

This is an indictment of us as well, we comfortable Christians in the relatively wealthy suburbs, who take for granted the blessing of proper heat, and likely never considered last week that others in our Conference or in our region were going without.

So, today, six children and a mother are dead because there is poverty. What should we as the Church have done? What should we do?

Thank God that Ash Wednesday is in two days, and Lent is upon us; we as the Church need a time of penitence (certainly, I need it).

"Truly, I say to you, as you did it for one of the least of these my brethren, you did it for you did it not for one of the least of these, you did it not for me."
- Matthew 25: 40, 45

To make a donation to the surviving family,
you can go here.


Prettybird said...

yes, you're right.

what should we do?


Prettybird said...


You may want to book mark this page because I'm not likely to tell you you're right again any time soon.

love you,

John Wesley said...

Dear and Gentle Reader,

Since I last had the pleasure of visiting ye, I have had many thoughts upon ye and your work in this, our online community. Keep hold the faith and continue to run the race! We will praise God for what he has done through your ministry and I cherish your willing spirit and compassion.

Who knows but it may please God to make ye an instrument in His glorious work? In effecting an union among the labourers in His vineyard? That He may direct and bless you in all your steps is the prayer of my heart.

Your affectionate and obedient servant,