This scripture and prayer were submitted by the Rev. Dr. Victor L. Hunter, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), New Martinsville.
"Now there was a great wind, so strong that is was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, But the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of sheer silence. And a still small voice." --1 Kings 19
Holy God, mystery beyond our comprehension, yet ever near in your love for your world
The bell tower on Craig’s Chapel Methodist Church was completely removed by the storm’s strong winds. But yet the bell that once signaled the beginning of services remained in place. The cemetery to the left, not pictured, was also blanketed by some fallen trees.
A storm has visited our village and swept through our valley. It has lacerated our trees, upended our tables, sheared our roofs, shaken our dwelling places, fractured our telephone poles, downed our lines, interrupted our communications, displaced our comforts, and left us in darkness.
It has silenced our televisions, disrupted our entertainments, interrupted our schedules and changed our plans. It has revealed our easy habits, laid bare our dependencies, made known our limitations, shaken our sense of power and our illusion of being in control.
Yet we are alive and the earth is solid beneath our feet. And perhaps we are more aware and more awake.
And so we worship. And so we ponder. And so we pray. And so we ask. Was this visitation merely the wind of nature of the freakishness of barometric pressure? Or was this also the wind of your spirit moving in our world and in our hearts. Ever speaking of the foundations of our lives. Ever revealing the truth about ourselves. Ever beckoning us beyond the mundane to the sacred foundations of life itself?
Has this been a moment of trial or an opportunity for faith and faith's illumination? Are they not, Holy God often the same?
So, Holy God, as we pick up the mess, may we also pray up the faith. As we sweep up the debris, may we also show up in faith's good and neighborly work. As we sit in darkness, may we better see the light of your saving and ever present love.
When the storms of life hit us, in all their suddenness and severity, may the stories of faith lift us in all their power and hope.
When the sheer silence comes after the wind, earthquake and fire, may we listen for the still small voice of revelation and reality.
Thank you, God, for sustaining us. And remind us as we gather today that, before the storm, in the storm and after the storm, that we live in the two abiding signs of your presence and love prayer and the sacramental presence of your table. Both signs of your nearness in our lives.