It was at Antioch that they were first called Christians. It was at Houston that they showed that they still are. The floods of ‘01 are a case in point.
During disasters the good in people manifests itself in many ways. The disastrous floods in Houston brought the city to a standstill and cancelled the National Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference at the Brown Convention Center for lack of electrical power. However, it didn’t stop the Christian power from praying and doing good to help those whose lives were in disarray because of the flooding.
Watching the drama unfold on Houston’s TV Channel 11, with its excellent 24-hour live coverage, was an experience in itself. It was heartening to see the numerous examples of goodness. Individuals, schools and churches opened their doors, taking in those forced from their homes and motorists stranded on flooded freeways. Many Good Samaritans were using their boats to rescue people and pets from their flooded homes and cars. The police, firemen, Coast Guard and National Guard were there, too. They get paid for doing good and they did it well. But it was the army of Good Samaritans who sprang into action early on in the flooding that made the difference in life and death situations for many people. Good Samaritans did it out of the goodness of their hearts. They too will get “paid”.
For those of us from out of town, the storm only caused minor inconveniences. We were high and dry in our towering hotels, although several lost power. Walking up several flights of stairs may be good for the heart; walking up 30 floors is a death-march experience.
The Conference’s Friday opening day sessions for Clergy and Leaders were not affected by the storm, which dropped nearly 3 feet of water on Houston. The fury of the storm began to hit during the main conference’s Opening Session at 7:00 pm on Friday. By 9:30 pm, June was cloud-busting out all over.
When we arrived for the Saturday morning sessions, most of the downtown area and the Brown Center were without power. After praise and worship in the lobby, at about 10:00 am several thousand of us dispersed to reassemble at 2:00 pm at the huge Catholic Charismatic Center, which was away from downtown, and which had power. It started to rain as I headed back to the Hyatt so I ducked into the Four Seasons Hotel thinking I would have a late breakfast. They had power and a buffet. “Table for one,” I said to the hostess who looked Hispanic.
“What is your room number,” she asked, eyeing my clerical garb.
“I’m not staying here,” I replied. She hesitated momentarily, smiled nervously, and then said, “Just a moment, please.” and disappeared into the dining room.
Presently, a somewhat disheveled Anglo, dressed in black pants, white shirt without tie, whose garb looked as out of place in this elegant place, as perhaps did my clerics, walked up to me and said, “I’m sorry, but we are only serving breakfast for hotel guests.”
“Then I will shake the dust from my feet and be off,” I said. Whether or not he caught the biblical reference is uncertain. What is certain is, that if you go to Houston, stay at the Hyatt, for they know how to offer hospitality during difficult situations. The staff, which perhaps also was stranded at the hotel, was overworked, yet pleasant and accommodating—their goodness shining through. There was no maid or room service, but there was power. And even though the hotel’s kitchen was flooded, the cooks managed to put together a scrumptious luncheon buffet—salads, pastas, stuffed chicken rolls, and enough desserts to satisfy every taste. For chocoholics, it took an immense amount of will power not to have seconds of the layered chocolate cake. I am not a chocoholic so I did, have seconds, not will power.So, snooty Four Seasons, where was your goodness? Take a lesson in hospitality from the Hyatt: they didn’t ask anyone if they were “guests”. Moreover, they managed to feed everyone who came and at a very reasonable price.
There is no substitute for goodness. It cannot be faked. What we are shines through our everyday words and deeds, whether we be an individual or a corporation. Being good is inseparable from doing good. And true followers of Christ are recognized by His goodness shining through them.
|Read other articles of Spiritual Enlightenment in the August 2001 edition of The Charismatics or return to the main menu by clicking here|