Standing in the Gap is an idiomatic expression that says to those who are struggling, unable to reach or achieve something they want or need, or are affected by some type of great tragedy or calamity, that “We” will stand for you when you cannot stand for yourself. The collective “WE”, your community, your people, your fellow citizens, will help you when you are unable to help yourself. It is a proclamation that we care for you, and in the most challenging times, throughout personal pain and hardship, you are not alone. That’s what compassionate and empathetic people do. It is what people of faith are called to do, and it is what most American citizens believe is part of the “American spirit.”
The past few weeks have tested the resolve and character of Americans and “American values.” We have had the wounds of historic racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry re-exposed and torn open again by marches and rallies touting White supremacy and neo-Nazi dogma and platitudes. We’ve endured a lack of leadership in addressing the resurgence of racial hatred and animus within our nation. The looming shadow of nuclear war hangs around as political leaders draw redlines, while escalating the rhetoric of war. And, last week, we were visited by an epic national disaster when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and the Gulf Coast. If ever we need people standing in the gap, it is NOW!
Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston, Texas. The damages in human life and treasure will not truly be known for weeks to come. Harvey has overwhelmed Houston and the flooding has been epic. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes and there is no prediction as to when they can return or if there will be a home to return to as many residences are completely under water. The City of Houston is completely shut down and that means oil refineries and industrial production. Most of our nation’s oil production comes from Texas, and there will be significant impact nationally. Not only the residents of Texas will feel the storm’s impact. The loss of human life seems miraculously low so far, but the disaster’s impact is yet to be fully assessed. We will ALL need to Stand in the Gap for Houston and for each other, as recovery from this epic disaster will be even more challenging than the storm itself.