Monday, September 15, 2008


It is the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, patron saint of Slovakia and a national holiday. Sean and I are listening to Morning Edition via at almost 3pm, getting ready for school tomorrow and still recovering from a whirlwind week (teaching, sermoning, etc.) It's been raining lightly all day, a gentle, welcome tapping on our windows that makes me glad to be inside, warm and cozy. I love days like this, especially after it has been so brutally hot. Water can be comforting, joyful, renewing, and such a relief.

Water is also powerful and frightening. 6 hours after I gave a children's message on the joyful experience of using water to remember our baptism, Pastor Kristi at St. Luke's responded to terrible flooding in Park Ridge with a sermon on Noah, and God's rainbow promise to never destroy the world. Water has as much potential for destruction as it does for sustaining creation--it is absolutely essential to life and can be absolutely deadly. God uses this powerful sign to make powerful promises to humanity: you will not be destroyed, you are my children, you are forgiven.

Lots of prayer requests on my mind today!

Let us pray for the search and rescue workers in Galveston and for everyone still waiting for them.

Let us pray for everyone trying to get the basics in Houston: power, drinking water, gasoline for generators, food. May the relief efforts reach and assist them in their times of need.

Let us pray for everyone cleaning up from flood damage in Park Ridge, especially Katie and Phil as they also prepare for their wedding this week. Bless the members of St. Luke's as they remember God's rainbow promise.

Let us pray for everyone in the South and Midwest impacted by Hurricane Ike--bless relief agencies and home and business owners who will be "in it for the long haul" for recovery and rebuilding.

Let us give thanks for God's life-giving gift of water: water used for cleaning up after storms, to sustain the people who are in the midst of recovery, and to remind all of us that God loves us, forgives us, and gives us new life.

I talked to my parents last night--the basement of their condo building (the parking lot and storage area) was flooded 10 inches, and some of the items they had in storage were damaged or destroyed. They don't have power or hot water and my mom is on a big deadline for work ... they were keeping positive, but please keep them in your prayers, too.

Here's a picture of us praying at the end of the children's message, yesterday. We had so much fun sprinkling water on the congregation! You can see the kids are suppressing giggles, here. Water is a lot of fun when it isn't in hurricane form. We're going to post the text and audio of my first sermon at Bratislava International Congregation soon, but until then, check out the pictures here.

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