O Good and Loving God, you so loved the world you sent your only Son to live among us and to experience the fullness of humanity in all things except sin. As we wait for the approaching storm, we experience the full range of human emotion, sure and certain, that Jesus our Savior knows our anxiety, our fear, and our trepidations. And so we pray:
God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress.
Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken
and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,
Though waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging
God will help at the break of day (Psalm 46)
In the days and hours to come, O heavenly Father, as you have revealed yourself to us in your Son, be near to us now in this time of pending harm. Save us from the tempests and waves, draw us ever closer to you as we confidently seek your protection from the destructive force of this storm.
May the Lord bless us and keep us;
May He show His face to us and have mercy.
May He turn His countenance to us and give us peace.
Words have meaning, power, and consequences. The words today are pouring in from friends and folks across the nation, via text and email, letting us know that we are in their prayers as Irma bears down on the region. Those words of prayer are powerful indeed.
I should especially mention one email we received from the pastor at Beau Sejour, our sister parish in Haiti – wishing us well and that the whole community there was praying for our safety.
It is time such as these when people’s faith and expressions of faith rise to the fore. Maybe it is the very public nature of the crisis that brings their faith to the public forum. For I am often curious about people’s attitude towards faith and religion. I will ask them if their faith is a personal matter – and almost always the answer is “yes, of course.” Then I will ask if their faith is a private matter… and you can see in the hesitation, you can see it in their eyes – “Didn’t he just ask me that?” Too easily we in the West equate the “personal” with those things that are private. But that is not Christianity. Christianity is a faith that is quite personal – “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son.” It is very personal, because it is about Jesus who loved us, each one of us, personally, individually, and held nothing back from us – not even his very life. It’s very personal. But it is hardly private – it communal, it is in the open, it is commanded to go the ends of the earth and “teach them all that I have commanded you.” To get face-to-face and share the good news. Continue reading