Restlessly, as I reflect, in general, on life and, specifically, on these past days of earthquake, fire, tempest, and flood, I think about waiting. I am constitutionally, perhaps characterologically impatient. I don’t like waiting. Oft I’ve mused that if everything, even most things happened as I desired, then I wouldn’t have to wait. But life isn’t like that. For me. For anyone. Despite the sometimes grand significance of our need and the always great sincerity of our want, there is much beyond our command and control. So, we wait…

in line,

in traffic,

by the phone,

for the mail, whether electronic in speed or snail in pace,

for meetings to begin and to end,

for planes and trains,

for time to pass,

for one another,

for results of school exams,

for reports of medical tests,

for return calls from potential employers,

for our partners or spouses, children or parents, families or friends to change,

for word from loved ones at times accident or natural calamity,

for help and healing, relief and release,

for birth and death,

for God…

However, today my restlessness provokes this persistent question: Who – and where and how – is waiting for me to act for good?

in Irma’s wake, a Christian prayer


hurricane eye

From lightning and tempest…fire and flood…, Good Lord, deliver us.[1]

In the face of Hurricane Irma, this petition comes to mind…

In part because I am a person of prayer. By faith, I believe in God’s existence, God’s eternal presence. By faith, I also believe in God’s benevolence, God’s immeasurable kindness…

And in part because this petition and this urgent plea, “Good Lord, deliver us,” has not been answered as I desire.

Irma, a titanic force of nature, the product of the environmental collusion of tropical disturbance and depression, water and wind, heat and humidity, sweeping through the Caribbean, has done and is doing what hurricanes, without the existential consciousness of cause or realization of reason, do. People have died and the homes and businesses of people’s living and livelihoods have been destroyed. And those of us on the southeast and eastern shores of the American mainland await Irma’s coming, and beyond human power to control, to continue to do what hurricanes do.

So, now, I pray: O God, I trust in Your existence because of which I exist and I trust in Your benevolence because of which most of the days of my life in this Your world have been illumined by sunlight and few darkened by the shadows of sorrow. Still, I know that all Your children, my sisters and brothers of my human family, are not so keenly blessed by worldly circumstances of peace and ease; and more do I know that Nature’s unrests in lightning and tempest, fire and flood make equals of us all in the dread of suffering. By Your ever-hovering, alway-brooding Spirit, O God, grant us the courage of strength and the strength of courage to face without fear whatever comes; knowing that our hearts abide in the hand of the assured everlasting future of Your Love; through Jesus Christ. Amen.


Footnote: [1] From The Great Litany, The Book of Common Prayer, page 149



as Irma approaches, a Christian prayer

hurricane eye

O God, again, yea, too soon again, I come to You as Author of all creation and Whose Spirit-breath is the Source of all wind; as Hurricane Irma, so horribly hurriedly after Hurricane Harvey, bears down on peoples and lands, I pray to You, too, as the Lord and Preserver and Sustainer of all life, for the safety of all in Nature’s path of fury, and should any of Your children, my sisters and brothers of the human family die, I pray You grant them perfect peace in Your nearest presence, and should any suffer hurt or loss, I pray You grant them the comfort of hands and hearts that You strengthen for service, and, for us all, may we, whether far away in the shelter of distance or caught in “the fell clutch of circumstance”[1] of raging tempest, be reminded that by Your creation, Your redemption in Jesus Christ, and Your sanctification by the Holy Spirit, we are bound, each and all, in a common everlasting destiny. Amen.



[1] A reference to a line from the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley