God of Creation,

Your ways are mysterious to us.  We know that we were created by You out of love, as part of the whole of creation, called into being by Your voice, and You pronounced “It is good.”

The earthquake long ago broke open the tomb; the earthquake a few months ago wrecked havoc upon Japan and caused a terrible tsunami.  You spoke to Job out of the whirlwind; but the whirling winds have blown away Tushka and Tuscaloosa over the past few weeks.  The floods subsided and allowed the ark to land, for life to re-enter the earth; the floodwaters are rising in New York, and North Dakota continues to recover.

God, Your Creative power is still at work, in the calming winds, in the receding waters, in the settling earth.  When the chaos of earthquakes, floods and tornadoes shatters our lives, Loving God, You are at work in our brothers and sisters who come to our aide, who bring healing and hope.  When the violence of the world drives in a wedge, Loving God, You are at work in the peacemakers, in the caregivers, in our neighbors who love us, even when we are strangers.

Mighty God, You call us into action to be Living Hope for the world.  You have called us to love our neighbor as ourselves, to lift up those in need, through prayer and the sharing of our time, talents, finances, and our very selves.  Guide us in the best ways to be Living Hope for those who are heartbroken, for those who are mourning, for those who have lost everything.  Help us to be Your servants, to be the Living Hope this world needs.  Through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend, who gave His life for us and calls us to be the Hope for the World, we pray always.  Amen.

 

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2 Responses to Special Prayer for Tuscaloosa and all tornado victims for May 1 2011

  1. A beautiful prayer. A useful little sermon really. Full of grace. Thank you for such a clear reminder of our Christian duty.

    Of course, Christians have long wrestled with how a loving God allows pain and despair and, from the evil influence of these two, doubt to take root and grow in our hearts. Days are when especially we realize both the faith dilemma and the hope that St Paul articulated: Now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

    Lacking the ability to reconcile death and destruction of these awful weather events from heavens that most days sustain us, we may clearly know what our response is to be. As your beautiful prayer reminds us, we are to be God’s instruments of love and compassion, the Living Hope this world needs, as your prayer speaks.

    My mother grew up in Durant. The Hatchett Chapel at First Baptist is named for her parents. My older daughter and her husband graduated the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Each lived where now there is only rubble. They are Whiskeypalians, as my Southern Baptist mother was found of calling members of the denomination of similar name, active members of St. James Episcopal Church in Jackson, MS. This daughter teaches 2nd grade at First Presbyterian Day School in Jackson.

    When I spoke with her earlier today, she was headed to the store to purchase basics — diapers, wipes, formula, etc. — to send to those in need in Tuscaloosa. When I found your prayer for the people of Tuscaloosa, I sent it to her to encourage her in giving until it helps.

    Thank you for your leadership in this. It is good to be reminded in the confusion that inevitably results from inexplicable tragedies such as this that, while God’s purposes may be unknowable to us at a particular point in time, His commandments are plain. God is a verb, Buckminster Fuller said. God Is an Amateur, Birmingham, AL Episcopalian and former Baptist minister, John Claypool, cleverly wrote. Thank you for reminding us that Christianity is as much what we do as what believe: If you love me, feed my sheep, Jesus commanded Peter, the human He made the head of His Church.

    Still, there is the question of why. In Paradise Lost, Milton wrote what may steady us as we await the clarity of face to face knowledge of the ultimately faithful God our forebears knew and in our time we too have found to be lovingly real: O goodness infinite, goodness immense! That all this good of evil shall produce, And evil turn to good more wonderful, Than that which by Creation first brought forth, Light out of darkness! Full of doubt I stand, Whether I should repent me now of sin, By me done and occasioned or rejoice, Much more that much more good thereof shall spring.

    Ten years ago or so, long time adult Sunday School teacher and brilliant academic physician Dan Foster, M.D. spoke on evil in the Brown Lecture Series of First Presbyterian Church in Dallas. I highly recommend his very erudite insights from our theologic tradition on the often imponderables of evil in the world, including what for many of us is the most difficult evil of al to understand, that which is from natural causes. Dan’s Brown Lecture Series and his Sunday School lessons, each rich in tested theology to help the serious inquirer in dead reckoning the vicissitudes of life, are available from First Presbyterian Church.

    God bless your work in Durant and beyond through this website that I happily found today and will return to again for similar spiritual use.

  2. Mindi – thank you for this prayer. Using the address of God by the New Zealand church I have excerpted your prayer offering it as an invitation to our congregation in Palm Desert, CA to pray and be “Living Hope” in the face of the latest tornado in Joplin, MO. I have given the link to the complete prayer in the invitation. I hope this may generate more visitors to your site and your wisdom. Thank you and God bless you “real good” –Dan

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