Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Baptism and a Flood

I attended my cousin's baptism on Sunday afternoon at St. Anthony's Church in Oceanside, Long Island. It wasn't easy for my family to get there. Major roads were closed because of the record rainfall in NYC and Long Island and we had to maneuver through closed and flooded roads. I was just alittle stressed thinking we would miss the baptism rite. We finally arrived only a few minutes late and the Deacon who was presiding waved us in, as he caught sight of us at the side door, nearest the altar. Even though he had started, he was most welcoming, "Come in, it's all good" I remember him saying to us. A nice way to be welcomed into Church after navigating through a rainstorm. We made our way into the pew near the rest of our family. I later found out the Deacon's name, Mike Monahan. He was enthusiastic, well spoken and he did a great job speaking to the parents and godparents who were present. He helped them understand the responsibility entrusted to them in raising a good Christian. He was assisted by his wife at the baptism. I thought that was wonderful, that she was able to help him in his ministry and be present as well. I thanked him at the end of the baptism, telling the Deacon he had done a good job. There is so much to be said for enthusiasm, an upbeat attitude, combined with knowledge of the faith, good preaching and a well planned ritual. That's the formula needed to fill up our churches, in my opinion.
Many guests did not show up for the dinner party following the baptism. Unfortunately, some were home cleaning up flooded basements in the city and Long Island. Others couldn't make it from New Jersey because of the flooding. What a day! Yet there was grace in the midst of chaos.
Record rainfall amounts might be the new norm (though I hope not). Ironically, on Sunday, the day of the flooding an article appeared in NY Newsday that morning titled, "Global Warming Turns Up the Heat on Long Island" by Jennifer Smith. It turned out to be a timely article. The article told how global warming is affecting Long Island already. According to scientists, "Be in no doubt, the world is warming" (Peter Thorne, scientist). And in what may be related, "Heavy downpours, the kind that flood streets, soak basements and sweep pollutants into bays-increased 67 percent in the Northeast from 1958-2007, a federal report found." One report I read months ago stated that some areas of the world would experience droughts due to global warming and other areas would experience record rainfall. That's what seems to be happening already. It's unnerving.
We should all be trying to conserve energy and do our best to prevent any further damage to the environment. Let's hope future generations take this threat seriously. I pray that they do!