CHARLESTON— Michael Brewer, pastor of First Baptist Church here, is struck by how devastating this Mississippi River flood could turn out to be.
“Most of the product in the spillway is not product that comes into Missouri or comes into the United States,” Brewer said. “It goes down the Mississippi on those barges and is loaded on those ships. There may be a million people in the rest of the world that are going to be impacted by the flood that’s taking place intentionally to save us here.”
Brewer leads a county seat church that runs about 100 in Sunday worship. The gym right now is doubling as a Red Cross emergency shelter that can sleep 80, with kitchen and shower facilities.
His faith is strong. He is filled with hope. God is feeding him through the Psalms, and Brewer is preaching what God is giving him.
For example, he has preached Psalm 66. That is where God is praised for His awesome works. The Project Flood of 2011 along the Mississippi River is one of those awesome works that Brewer is wrestling with in the pulpit, which happens to be a vintage 1910 model in a church that was birthed in 1830, nine years after Missouri became a state.
“Everything in 31 states comes right by here,” he said. “This is where the Ohio (River) comes in, right here where we live, Mississippi County. That water wraps around us.”
The heart of Psalm 66 is all about God teaching us through affliction. In verse 12, we learn that God has caused men to ride over our heads and that we went through fire and water. Water? Brewer is applying that portion to the flood.
Enter the beauty of Psalm 66. God and God alone brings us out to rich fulfillment. Some believe that phrase is an allusion to Israel’s conquest of Canaan (Joshua 3:14-17). Brewer can see this through the eyes of faith.
“I believe that here,” he said.
He just hopes that the nation will hear about their pain and joy.
“There’s no story here anymore because it’s not the spectacular,” he said. “The flood victims and the flash floods in the smaller communities all over southeast Missouri, they’re not only not on the back burner, they’re not on the back page.
They’re out of the picture.
“Where do we come along in these ministry opportunities with our compassion, with our resources, and start finding these people?”
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor