O God, you divided the waters of chaos at creation.
In Christ you stilled the storms, raised the dead,
and vanquished demonic powers.
Tame the earthquake, water, wind
and fire, and all the forces that defy control
or shock us by their fury. Keep us from
speaking of disasters as your justice; keep us
from adding to their fury by our slowness
to respond or our callousness of spirit. Help us,
in good times and in distress, to trust
your mercy and yield to your power,
this day and forever. Amen.
This was the prayer that began our worship this morning. I was struck by my inability to be composed. I wept over the first few lines of this prayer. It captured my heart. It spoke of my fears. In the wake of Katrina, how do we face 9/11? When wounds are still fresh in this city, how do we face another anniversary? My prayers these past few days have been marked by remembering those in grief this weekend. I remember the few friends of my own and wonder about the countless others who are not on the list of names read from Ground Zero these past four years -- the undocumented, the illegitimate, the lonely. I wonder who remembers the nameless faces that once marked our city's streets.
Wiping away a tear, I found myself in the midst of the rite of baptism. On this day of destruction, this little baby boy affirmed hope. His squeals of glee sang through the entire sanctuary. He was darling and delighted.... until the water came to bless him. The water was not his favorite part but he was easily distrcted by the dancing mic. Wiping away my tears, I was reminded of new life. I was struck by the courage of these parents to welcome, affirm and bless their small child on this day of all days. On a day that we need to wonder about forgiveness (what does 70 times 7 mean?), this family snubbed the masses and said "To Life!"
Thanks be to God.