Monday, September 26, 2005

In Lamentation We Turn to God - Reflecting on the Gulf Coast Disaster

The following is from Prayerful Reflections and Faithful Responses to the Gulf Coast Disaster, a free resource prepared by JustFaith Ministries. JustFaith offers gives permission to parishes to reprint this. Please simply acknowledge JustFaith Ministries in your reprint.

“Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to your God.” (Joel 2:13)

A reading from Psalm 69

“Save me God! The water is already up to my neck!
I am sinking in the deepest swamp, there is no foothold.
I have stepped into deep water and the waves are washing over me.
Worn out with calling, my throat is hoarse,
My eyes are strained, looking for my God…”

Who do you know personally that is suffering the aftereffects of the storm? What image, story, face, touched you deeply?

“For my part I pray to you God…
In your great love answer me, faithful in your saving power...”

How have you “prayed through this disaster?” With whom have you shared your grief or expressed your disbelief or deep-rooted anxiety?

“Pull me out of this swamp; let me sink no further.
Let me escape those who hate me, and save me from deep water.
Do not let the waves wash over me.
Do not let the deep swallow me or the pit close its mouth on me…”

How has your family, faith, church, or your daily life been affected? What has been lost or deeply disturbed by this catastrophe?

“In your loving kindness, answer me, God;
In your great tenderness turn to me;
Do not hide your face from your servant, quick, I am in trouble, answer me;
Come to my side and redeem me…”

In what ways have you felt powerless or empowered to respond to the realities of need? What or who has helped you to stop, pay attention and listen to the cries of the suffering people?

“For myself, wounded wretch that I am,
By your saving power God, lift me up!
I will praise the name of God with a song of thanksgiving…
Then, seeing this, the humble can rejoice;
Long life to your hearts all you who seek for God!
God always hears those who are in need.”

Where have you seen signs of hope? What wisdom or witness has inspired you?

“For God will save Zion and rebuild the towns of Judah:
They will be lived in, owned, and handed down to those who love God’s name.”