In moments of devastation we are torn between heartbreak and hope. The Queensland floods made that impact on all in its path.
A baby was torn from a mother’s arms. A four year old toppled out of a rescue launch and was swept away. These are the things of heart-break. A teenage boy Jordan Rice told rescuers to save his brother first, when they returned he was gone. Jordan was 13.
Patty Beecham is a wife, mother of two, a community activist and a photographer. 2 Day FM ran her flood report on their website. “What I’ll remember of the Brisbane floods, are two things. The way Brisbane came together to help each other; the neighbours and the kindness of strangers not only willing but able to help each other, and the marvelous way Twitter and social networking proved itself, not to be a ‘waste of time’ but an invaluable tool for reaching out to act; immediately, intelligently, helpfully.”
The ABC news gave the flood aftermath a true touch of Australiana. ‘Brisbane working bee hits streets,’ they said. A working bee is the common term used to describe a community project that brings neighbors together for clean ups and projects in Australia. Right now we have a national working bee underway.
The people came in the thousands. They came in old clothing. They came wearing wide-brimmed hats and some in gum-boots. They came armed with their own brooms, buckets and shovels. They came to work. And they continue to come.
The Lord Mayor of Brisbane Campbell Newman was pleased. “We had 7,000 (volunteers) this morning and clearly, as I forecast, we’re having some difficulty dealing with the numbers,” Mr Newman said.
People came from far and wide. Some flew in from interstate, others from the north. “We were actually at Toowoomba when it hit,” volunteer Kerrie Elice told the ABC.. “We saw the streets flooded … it pulls on the heartstrings, so we just wanted to come and help. “It didn’t affect us up at Toowoomba. You just think yourself so lucky.”
Darren Moss was another interviewed by the ABC. He said it did not feel right watching the devastation at home on television and doing nothing.
“We came down today because we felt it was something that we needed to do … there’s a moral obligation and social obligation as well.”
The ABC report said ‘other volunteers have simply materialised to help friends and strangers as Brisbane and Ipswich residents try to get back on their feet.’
The response augurs well for the people and the nation. Christians understand God looks on the heart and the heart today is healthy. It pumps with the vitality of volunteers who are motivated by compassion and concern. With their brooms and buckets they bring comfort, assurance and hope.
The Bible says “..Whoever has the world’s goods, and see his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17)
Jesus made acts of mercy, kindness and generosity a personal issue.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink. And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25: 35-40)