by The Rev. Debra Tyree et al.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
We remembered that we are yours, O Lord,
as we saw the waters rising,
as we became cut off from one another,
as we faced destruction around us.
And in that remembering,
we found Your strength and love.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire
you shall not be burned,
and the flame
shall not consume you.
Almighty God, we thank you
for your powerful presence in our lives
as we remember the days following the flood…
For times of uncertainty:
destruction and darkness,
sirens and silence,
and trucks with debris.
For mold and mud,
wet dogs and wet clothes,
tetanus shots and breathing masks,
the lack of communication and information,
and an overwhelming concern for others.
We give you thanks, loving God,
for the power of your love
as found through our members, neighbors, friends, and strangers.
We remember the days following the flood…
For the gift of tears and a hug, for miles of carpet pulled,
for helping hands and self-sacrifice, for hammers and volunteers,
for hospitality and bridge building, for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
and for a sense of humor.
For new relationships and new friends,
for cots and shelter, clothes and furniture,
for UMCOR, the Red Cross, and FEMA,
for having the exact thing that someone else needed,
for flood buckets and health kits,
for flowers growing up through hardened mud,
for pictures saved and hands that scrubbed,
for boats and police,
for home-cooked meals and hundreds of bottles of cool, cleansing water,
and for miracles and abundance.
We continue to live out what it means
to be a part of a connectional church
as we offer hospitality and shelter to UMCOR teams
serving in our community.
We commit to continuing to serve our neighbors.
for those who have not yet returned to their homes
and for those who are struggling to make their house
a home again.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you.
We will continue
to heal, hope, and serve others
because God’s Spirit of love
is in this place.
Alleluia! Alleluia! ALLELUIA! (Scripture reference: Isaiah 43:1-3a, 4a)
The Rev. Debra Tyree is a United Methodist deacon appointed to the General Board of Global Ministries and Bellevue United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. She composed this litany using a collection of thoughts and prayers from people in her congregation and community about the massive May 2010 flood of the rivers in Nashville and throughout the mid-South. Nearing the first anniversary of this flood, daily severe storms and new threats of flooding are igniting new fears in the region.
She offers the prayers to be used and adapted for any persons, anywhere, facing similar situations in their lives and communities. Copyright on the biblical text does not permit adaption of the biblical texts (New Revised Standard Version).
All scripture quotations are taken from The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Copyrights administered by Harper-Collins. Used by permission. All rights reserved.