Friday, September 8, 2017

Reflections on Natural Disasters (From Afar)

I was about to send off a donation of hair to a charity when I realized that there only office is in West Palm Beach, Florida. Right in the path of Irma.  I put it aside to send after the hurricane, when things are settled. But it makes wonder. How will nonprofits ride out the storm? What will become of their work if their facilities are devastated? How can we help?

A friend commented that she will need a rain plan for her wedding next weekend because that is when the rain from Irma will hit New England. I began to wonder about all the people in Florida and Texas and Mexico and Montana whose weddings and funerals and baptisms had to be postponed because of natural disasters. Or maybe they won't happen because bride or groom perished. How can we help?

I am not in the path of storm or a wildfire. There has been no earthquake or tornado here. From my position of safety, I feel the need to help, but I don't know what to do.

We used this prayer, published by Xavier University, at youth group tonight. Prayer, of course, is real and effective. But part of my prayer is to figure what actions I should take.

Let Our Cries Come Unto You

Most merciful and compassionate God,
Giver of Life and Love,
hear our prayers
and let our cries come unto you.
We weep with your people 
We hear the cries of orphaned children and laments of bereaved parents
We feel the desperation of those searching for loved ones
We behold the silence of vanished villages.
We see the devastation.
We are overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
Our hearts are hushed, our minds are numb.
Let not our hands be stopped, our voices dumb.
God of the universe,
Open our hearts to feel your compassion
Galvanize in us the act of continued giving
Bond us to our sisters and brothers in need
Comfort and heal the injured, the bereaved, the lost
Strengthen the aid workers and medical personnel
Bolster the resolve of governments and those with power to help
Open through this tragedy pathways to partnerships and peace
In Your Name of mercy and healing and compassion we pray

Brothers and sisters in danger -- let me know how I can help. And God keep you safe!!

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