30 Aug A Faithful Response to Disaster
The images have been horrifying and unforgettable. Streets turned to rivers. People clinging to the tops of cars or houses. The rain and wind unrelenting. And there have been other images as well, also unforgettable, but these gladden the heart: people using anything that will float to rescue total strangers, children and the infirmed being carried out of harm’s way, mountains of donated supplies piling up. Houston and the surrounding areas in south Texas, and now Louisiana, continue to be ravaged by Harvey and its aftermath. And the suffering is only beginning, as clean-up will be long, slow, expensive and painful. Those who have been directly impacted by this catastrophic event will need our continuing support and encouragement.
For those of us far away from the direct path of the storm, it can feel as if there is nothing we can do. But, actually there is something we can do. We can pray, and for those who are able, we can contribute financially to the relief efforts. The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance agency has “boots on the ground” in Houston and is actively involved in participating in and supporting the work being done there. If you would like to make a donation to the Harvey relief efforts, you may do so by clicking HERE. And, I am including a prayer that we can pray now and continue to pray in the weeks and months ahead as our sisters and brothers in Texas and Louisiana begin to recover.
God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance, storm and distress, we welcome the restoring power of your love and compassion. We open our hearts in sorrow, gratitude, and hope: that those who have been spared nature’s fury as well as those whose lives are changed forever by ravages of wind and water may find solace, sustenance, and strength in the days of recovery and rebuilding that come.
We are thankful for the generous grace of days of preparation; for the wise counsel of experts and the generous collaboration of so many communities, that in the face of the storm kept many out of harm’s way, and lessened the effects of wind and water on others. We pray for those yet in harm’s way. We pray for those huddled at home or among strangers while waters continue to rise, for those who have fled from home and wait and wonder. We ask for sustaining courage, for the kindness of strangers, for hope that does not disappoint.
We open ourselves to listen with compassion to the stories of those whom Hurricane Harvey has not spared: communities deeply affected, whose livelihood, homes and stability have been destroyed. We pray in grief, honoring the lives shattered and the livelihoods, homes, and businesses for whom recovery seems an insurmountable mountain. We lift our voices in sorrow and compassion for families who have lost loved ones.
We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to flow as powerfully as rivers and streams, as we, your people, respond to the deep human needs beginning to emerge in the wake of the storm.
In these days of relief, assessment and response, open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands to the needs of your children and the movements of your Spirit, who flows in us like the river whose streams makes glad the city of God, and the hearts of all who dwell in it, and in You.
In the name of Christ the Healer we pray. Amen.
Yours for the Kingdom,