We are shaken by the news of the massive tornado that touched down yesterday, May 20, in Moore, Oklahoma. Here are some resources for responding in ways that will help those whose lives are affected by this devastating storm.
PRAYERSOn the Occasion of a Disaster
Compassionate God… Draw near to us in this time of sorrow and anguish, comfort those who mourn, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, and lead us all to fullness of life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen
— Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints (Church Publishing: New York), page 733
A Prayer for First Responders
Blessed are you, Lord, God of mercy, who through your Son gave us a marvelous example of charity and the great commandment of love for one another. Send down your blessings on these your servants, who so generously devote themselves to helping others. Grant them courage when they are afraid, wisdom when they must make quick decisions, strength when they are weary, and compassion in all their work. When the alarm sounds and they are called to aid both friend and stranger, let them faithfully serve you in their neighbor. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
— Adapted from the Book of Blessings, #587, by Diana Macalintal
Prayer for Preparedness and Response
O God, our times are in your hand. In the midst of uncertainty lead us by your never-failing grace as we seek to be agents of healing and hope. Walk with us through difficult times; watch over us in danger; and give to us a spirit of love and compassion for those who suffer and mourn. And finally remind us that you have promised never to leave us so that even in the valley of the shadow of death your love may be felt, through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
— The Rev. Lyndon Harris, from the Episcopal Diocese of New York disaster preparedness plan
For a Person in Trouble or Bereavement
O merciful Father, who have taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve your human children: Look with pity upon the sorrows of your servants for whom our prayers are offered. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy, nourish their souls with patience, comfort them with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon them, and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, page 831
Give through your local church, your denominational relief agency, or to a church or judicatory in Oklahoma. Here are some Episcopal Church links:
TALK WITH CHILDREN AND TEENS
Many of those who were injured or killed in this tornado were children. Our own children may have fears about their own safety as they hear the news and identify with them. HERE are some helpful thoughts to guide you as you spend time and talk about this tragedy with the children and teens in your life. This resource was originally prepared following the Haiti earthquake and contain appropriate guidance in any tragic situation that touches the lives of those for whom we care.
A public official in Oklahoma, speaking with a reporter this morning, said, "In Oklahoma, when a neighbor comes to your home asking for help, we take them in and care for them. That's what we do." Those of us who are far from Oklahoma can't provide that kind of direct care for our neighbors in Moore, Oklahoma. But we can "take them in" to our homes through our prayers, our contributions, and by caring for those near us who look to us for wisdom and reassurance.
Blessings to you and yours,