In Harm's Way

September 6, 2011

Because God inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord", I pray, "save my life!"                                                                                                                                   Psalm 116: 2 - 4 God listens to our prayers. Turns out I do too. We were having dinner with friends in their home and before eating, our host, a retired Marine jet fighter pilot, reached for our hands and offered the blessing. His last sentence was a prayer for all those who were "in harm's way." I have heard him pray this prayer before, and have heard the phrase in other places that generally speak about soldiers on the front lines of battle. We could all agree that in many places around the world, on land, sea, and air, many are in harm's way and in need of our constant prayer. But in light of world and local news, others among us are in harm's way, and that way may be completely hidden from us. In the watches of the night, I thought of all those people who live in constant fear of violence in their homes, parental and spousal abuse, elder abuse, and violence on our streets with drive by shootings and other gang related acts of violence. Recently I have thought of those who live in tornado alley and flood zones, totally at the mercy of the elements. John Paul Jones, great revolutionary naval war hero, is the one who penned the phrase, "in harm's way." He was building a navy and wanted sleek sailing vessels for the high seas... fast ships, for "I intend to go in harm's way." Some of us go willingly into places of danger and risk. But many more find themselves there by happenstance. Our choices, our limitations, our naiveté, the sins of our parents, the prejudices and "isms" of our culture, all can lead us into harm's way. And finding our way out is not easy. Sometime in this day, take a look around you. Open your eyes to the stranger - or the family member, co-worker, colleague, or friend -  who might this day be in harm's way. Prayer is always the first response, then speaking truth in love, then using your voice, your resources, your circle of influence to bring about a healing way where hope is found again. Restoration of wholeness is kingdom work, undergirded in the grace and love of God. A prayer is offered today for all those who find themselves in harm's way anywhere on the planet. May Christ, who is the Way, be present with you in the storms. Amen.    

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September 11, 2011

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At the End of Lament
September 4, 2011