Saturday, September 26, 2015

Prayer from the Hurricane

PSALM 124:1-8
If it had not been the LORD who was on our side
— let Israel now say —
if it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters. 
Blessed be the LORD,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

it was 26 years ago this week
when Hurricane Hugo roared over my home.

I remember the preparations:
Filling bathtubs and sinks with water,
Canned goods, batteries, flashlights and radios,
Gasoline in cars and gas cans,
Sleeping bags and pillows,
Yard furniture, outside toys put away.

That day had a beautiful clear blue sky.
That night I woke to howling winds
and deep thuds,
which I learned later were pine trees falling.
My family gathered in the hallway listening to the radio.
Finally too exhausted I fell asleep in my sleeping bag.

The next morning I awoke to 24 pine trees down in our yard
and an amazing display of neighbors loving neighbors.
Baptist men from far away came
with backhoes and bulldozers to clear passage in the streets
Neighbors checked on the elderly.
Shared chainsaws and strength to remove fallen trees.

Then the most amazing meal--
a Eucharist of sorts.
Neighbors gathering together
bringing the thawing meat from the freezer,
the once frozen bread dough,
the chicken soup frozen in the summer for the winter cold
All gathering together around a gas grill and out door tables
the same ones who had sweated together clearing uprooted trees
now sharing, laughing, talking, feasting,
communing together.

The waves crashed high on the shore.
The winds broke windows, smashing trees through rooflines.
But the Lord was with us in the storm;
the Lord was with us in the recovery;
the Lord was at the table;
the Lord was on our side.

Thank you,

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