From the Eighth chapter of Genesis, the 22nd verse, God speaking to Noah after the flood. “For as long as earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never stop.” The Message.
Houston and the Texas coast have been put to an extreme test. A recent New York Times article showed videos from drones and before and after videos of streets comparing 2016 and this week. To watch the destruction makes us cry. In the same article, however, because of social media, examples of selflessness, heroism by strangers who just brought their boats and went out to look for people to rescue, first responders carrying children from homes and the elderly from nursing homes makes us cry as well, not from sadness but from the privilege and blessing of witnessing God at work through His children in the midst of fear, anxiety and deep grief over loss of property, pets, pictures, mementos that cannot be replaced. Human life losses are just beginning to be counted. Over sixty deaths have been confirmed.
The truth is that it will be a long time before we know the full extent of pain caused by Harvey. The mental stress that has been caused, the physical toll, the long lasting anguish cannot yet be calculated. But we hold fast to the promise of Jesus, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” St. Matthew, Chapter 11, verses 28,29 KJV.
Those of us at St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church offer this prayer: “Heavenly Father, we give thanks to You for the leadership You have provided our city and the entire Texas coast through city, county and state officials. We pray for those whose lives have been forever changed, that they may receive peace. Send your Holy Angels to watch over them. We pray for those first responders, doctors, nurses and technicians who have tirelessly served the citizens of Houston and Texas coast, often when their own homes and families were in danger, for they have been and are an incomparable blessing to thousands. We ask you to comfort the families of those who have lost loved ones and heal the sick, all for Your love’s sake. Help each of us to see the way in which we can assist others during this time and into the future, that this tragedy may be used by You, O God, to become a source of building of our personal relationships, each of us extending a hand to our sisters and bothers. We ask all of this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen”
The Rev. John Onstott, Rector
St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church