NEW ORLEANS (BP)--Imagine the nation's worst natural disaster striking your home. Water nine feet deep. No more books. No more furniture. No more safety or security.
For two and a half years you're in limbo, dependent on the kindness of people who take you in. They become friends, though at first there seemed to be a chasm of differences. But, finally, you get to go back into your house, and you see it is exactly the same! Even the same ivory/mauve color scheme!
Photo by Stacey Billger
Such a day of rejoicing it was for the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church family Sunday, April 6.
"We're baaaaaack, y'all!" pastor Fred Luter Jr. exulted, and the New Orleans congregation exploded with joy. "We're baaaaaack," he repeated three more times, and each time the congregation responded with more rejoicing.
Both the 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. services were standing room only in Franklin Avenue's fan-shaped worship center, in side rooms set up with closed-circuit television, in the foyer and spilling out onto the sidewalk. More than 4,000 people participated in the two services, church leaders estimated.
"So many people are here I'm thankful the fire marshal didn't show up," Luter said as he stood at the same oak pulpit where he had preached since 1986. Virtually every statement the pastor made was echoed with the congregation's exuberant approval, except for the serious moments in his sermon from the Old Testament's Book of Habakkuk.
Everybody has foes, and Hurricane Katrina was a formidable foe, Luter preached.
"What can be said about the worst natural disaster in the history of our nation and how that disaster affected so many of us? ... We've been affected ... but now ... now that you're back in your own pews ... our disaster has turned into dancing!" Read More