Wednesday, September 20, 2017

prayer for sheltering

Over the past weeks with their hurricanes - and now an earthquake - I have been praying with a line from a hymn: Oh, spread thy sheltering wings around...

My first day of my novitiate field education placement at Common Art, St. John's, Bowdoin Street, on September 12, 2001. Liz, the priest in charge, is an artist. Two blocks from the State House, the anxiety was almost palpable. Following our service, Liz had us all draw prayer mandalas as we held this disaster in our hearts. I can still envision mine. So much to pray for. So many lives impacted. And I learned there that art, no matter the purely artistic quality thereof, can express prayers of the heart when words will not suffice. It complements the prayer of silence.

And so I made another. Great art it is not. But it is prayer. It is prayer I can come back to.

Oh, spread thy sheltering wings around...

Around those in immediate danger.
Around those preparing to face it.
Around those numb with shock.
Around those wild with grief and loss.
Around those frantic to find missing loved ones.
Around those who have found them injured or dead.
Around those standing in the wreckage looking for hope.
Around those working to heal, to repair, to comfort.
Around those seeking a way forward for themselves or for their communities.

Lord, shelter them in the midst of the storm.
Let them know your presence, so very near even now.

Oh, spread thy sheltering wings around...

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

haiku against horror

More bad news today.
Kyrie eleison.
I have had enough.

Wind, flood, fire, fury;
Catastrophic potential.
Death rides a pale horse.

Storm-tossed, not sinking;
weather-beaten, we still trust.
You are our anchor.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

prayer hymn for the storm

Almighty Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.

O Christ, the Lord of hill and plain
O'er which our traffic runs amain
By mountain pass or valley low;
Wherever, Lord, thy brethren go,
Protect them by thy guarding hand
From every peril on the land.

O Spirit, whom the Father sent
To spread abroad the firmament;
O Wind of heaven, by thy might
Save all who dare the eagle's flight,
And keep them by thy watchful care
From every peril in the air.

O Trinity of love and power,
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them whereso'er they go,
Thus evermore shall rise to thee
Glad praise from air and land and sea.

Hymn 513, 1940 Hymnal
(text via Wikipedia)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

a prayer for evening: Abide with Me

1 Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
when other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
help of the helpless, O abide with me.

2 Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

3 I need thy presence every passing hour;
what but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
who like thyself my guide and stay can be?
through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me.

4 I fear no foe with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

5 Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies:
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!

Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #10

Thursday, September 7, 2017

sideswipe? maybe? #IrmaHaiti

Just a quick note - things are looking better than expected, though of course it's not over till it's over.

We went from this:
(which is to say, no power, no food in the shelters)

to this:

Power's back on in Cap Haitien!

Given that when I lived in Haiti it was much more often off than on, this astonishes and delights me, assuming it's true. All of which is to say a cautious "yea!-ish?"  Could be worse (eg Tortola, Barbuda... awful... pray for them, too).

Haven't heard much about the flooding situation yet, which is what most concerns me. There are reports of it. We'll know more in the morning.

The only article-based report I've found online so far is this:

It's not over yet.,-65.566,5

I just keep praying that it goes north (and preferably right between the coast and Bermuda where it will impact the fewest people), slows down, and then retires completely.


I'm waiting for word from Haiti, which will take a while, given that Irma is there right now.  I have just found articles, however, as well as a few Twitter threads. Thought I'd share with those of you who may also be waiting for news.

Hurricane Irma: Panic sets in as Haiti braces for storm | Miami Herald

Haiti has already been devastated by natural disasters. Now it’s bracing for Irma. - The Washington Post

Meanwhile, I'm praying for my friends there, especially my godson and his family who are up north. Praying, too, for all those who are reeling from the storm or in its path. Please pray with me.

Haïti confronté à l’ouragan Irma, moins d’un an après le drame de Matthew

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

leave us not

Today was our monthly commemoration of the Holy Name of Jesus, one of our two special devotions in the Society of St. Margaret. We have particular readings and hymns for the day, and our non-scriptural noon reading is also chosen accordingly.

This week it is my turn to do the noon reading, so for today I found a portion of a sermon on the Holy Name written by our founder, John Mason Neale, in the 19th century.  I thought I might share this with you, as this is a prayer for us all.

Jesus icon in St Margaret's Chapel, Duxbury, MA, for All Saints Evensong 2013

Sermons on the Apocalypse, the Holy Name, and the Proverbs
by John Mason Neale
Preached August 7th, 1856.

"Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by Thy Name; leave us not."--JER. xiv. 9.

You heard last night what S. Bernard said in his own religious house, then in the first fervour of its devotion. And I thought, as we were then hearing those words of his, on fire as they are with love, how true it is that JESUS CHRIST is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. Is there anything that was said by that great Saint to those servants of CHRIST seven hundred years ago, that I might not say to you now? Have I any new motives to give you? Have I any less strength to offer you? Have I any less dear hope to set before you? No. It is the same prayer: they used it, and so must we: "Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us: and we are called by Thy Name: leave us not." Thou art in the midst of us. I cannot but feel that it is so of a truth. I must not doubt GOD'S love and mercy, I must not dishonour this day by forgetting the Almightiness of the Name it bears, because I know--O how much!--my own unworthiness, and because, my dear Sisters, I know your sins and weaknesses. I could not but feel this morning as to one after another I gave the Living Bread that cometh down from heaven, and the Wine that blossoms into purity, that the text was true. I might have said then: "Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us. By my hands, albeit altogether miserable and unworthy, Thou hast vouchsafed to come among us. Thou seest each of these Thy children kneeling before Thee. Thou knowest their wants: Thou pitiest their weaknesses. Give to her that grace which Thou seest her so much to need: give to her strength against that temptation by which Thou knowest her to be so much assailed: enable her to strive with all her might to keep that resolution which Thou knowest her so earnestly to have made. Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us: Thou hast begun the good work, Thou must perform it. Thou hast loved all these with an everlasting love, Thou must give them more and more love. Thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by Thy Name. It is the Name we take on our lips oftener than any other: it is the Name we desire to bear in our hearts beyond all other: it is the Name to which we keep this day holy, and to which we desire to be ourselves holy: we are called by Thy Name: leave us not."