Beloved People of St. Martin’s,
As I write this, Hurricane Florence is taking aim at the coast along the southeastern United States, aiming as best we know for the Carolinas. At the same time, in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Olivia has made landfall in Hawai’i. And just a few days ago, people all over the world paused and remembered the terrible loss of life that occurred in New York, at the Pentagon, and in a field outside of Shanksville, PA, on September 11, 2001.
Yet at the same time, these times of crisis are also times when we remember incredible acts of heroism, faith, and love. We remember those who are willing to lay down their lives for others. And we also remember that God is in the midst of the storm as surely as God is in the midst of joy. These are times when we remember the opening five verses of Psalm 31:
In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
There are times when storms threaten to overtake us, both from within and from without. Yet even in the midst of the storms of life, in times of sorrow or tumult or tragedy, we know that God is right beside us, enveloping us within an unshakeable love. The power of God’s love for each of us can never be broken, or even shaken
As we pray for those we love in the paths of storms, and for those we love who battle against storms within, let us ever give thanks that our Savior is our sure companion in all times, the solid rock as the foundation of our lives:
In You, O God, do we take refuge:
our trust is in You as we cry out in distress.
Even when the darkness surrounds us,
when walls close in upon us,
You are our mighty fortress.
Preserve us within the storms of life,
for though the tempest rages about us,
You are our God.
Mighty winds may blow and howl,
are our rock of refuge
and stronghold to keep us safe.
For You take heed of our souls’ distress
and will never give us up
to the power of darkness and despair.
We rest in the hands of the Almighty:
we rejoice in your mercy and lovingkindness.
Watch over your children, we pray,
and embrace those who rest within You.