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Fires, Floods, and Human Fragility

Dear Friends,

This morning I re-read the prayer attributed to Sir Francis Drake (c.1577) that begins with the words;

“Disturb us Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true, BECAUSE WE HAVE DREAMED TOO LITTLE.”

And my first thought was,

“No! Don’t disturb us! We are disturbed enough! The swirling winds, rising waters and death tolls, the gas explosions and fires, the divisiveness of public discourse, the division of families…it is all so disturbing. Please God, do not add to our disturbances. Calm them!!!”

And then I walked into morning prayer and I took a deep breath and I heard us pray for those in the Floods and Fires and for the First Responders, and somewhere down the street, beyond our chapel door, sirens raced to help someone as we prayed.

In that moment I felt that we were First Responders. In that moment I knew that (ideals aside, and reality at play) I had indeed dreamed too little by mostly dreaming of a life of love and wellness for those nearest me, but not necessarily (with my whole heart) for everyone.

My family and I, our church, our neighbors; we are safe from the floods and fires (and wherever that siren was going), but not everyone is, and that should disturb us greatly.

When the world is disturbing to us, we can respond by asking God for Holy Disturbance; for the bell to call us to prayer in the middle of a task and to let our own work be disrupted, for a disaster to demand resources and for us to re-configure personal budgets to lend a hand, for a voice to enter the room that will challenge us to think more broadly, for a risk to be taken that will bring us to a deeper experience of God…this is what I prayed for this week. I prayed that in the middle of all this human fragility, God may heal us by disturbing us, by interrupting our ways and making use of our hands and hearts to hold and heal a hurting world.

When the world is in turmoil, the scared kid in me just wants to go sit in my room and watch Mr. Rogers and then take a long nap (I will speak for myself…. I bet you have some version of this). But I wonder if God is waiting to disrupt our lives and pull us out of our rooms, away from our screens, and into our full maturity in Christ, where the Holy Spirit can “push back the Horizons of our hopes, and push us into the future in strength, courage, faith, hope, and love.”

Yours in Christ,


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