In the early 1990s I was living in Llandudno, a peaceful, lovely seaside resort. However it was winter and a combination of high tides and strong winds caused flooding. I remember standing on the promenade watching the tide roll in and realised that it was not only higher than where I was standing but as the waves broke they actually came over the top of the shelters where people would sit to admire the views. Within moments I was knee deep in water as the sea rushed by me and flooded the town. Nothing could stop it; it was a wall of water, and when mixed with the sewers and drains, extremely unpleasant, and anything the water touched basically needed to be thrown away.
I am used to thinking of water as cleansing, reviving and on tap! And yet over the last few years many of our communities in this country have suffered really bad flooding, and once it is no longer “newsworthy” we do not hear that for some it is often months before they are back in their homes after having to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.
I write this in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and the total devastation of islands and communities and I actually cannot comprehend the magnitude of the flooding from the sea and the rain, and wonder what is there actually left to rebuild with, plus the fact that clean water is scarce and the things I take for granted are just not there for them.
As I’ve prayed and reflected on what has happened I’ve thought of the account in the Bible when Jesus was asleep in the boat and a storm raged around him. When his disciples woke him up fearing for their lives he stilled the storm, a reminder perhaps of the story of creation when the Spirit hovered over the waters bringing order out of chaos, for as they said, “even the wind and rain obey him.”
And I have heard myself praying, “Why can’t you do that now, Lord?” Why these Tsunamis, why these hurricanes, what can we do to stop the waters being so destructive? I feel a bit like King Canute who was reputed to have commanded the waves to stop and got wet!
I don’t have the answers, but I do give thanks for the generosity of those who have given money and goods to help out. For the Aid workers and troops on the ground giving practical help and support, for the indomitable spirit of people affected who are thankful just to be alive saying, “material things can be replaced.” I give thanks that we are able to hear of things as they happen and respond more quickly.
But we need to continue to pray for those we could easily forget about as other news stories push them from our consciousness, and especially for those bereaved and still looking for loved ones, we also need to pray for all governments that decisions they make on our behalf, which affect the lives of many, will be guided by compassion and justice for all.
We need water, but… too much – we are flooded, too little – there is a drought! We need clean water for all and for those of us fortunate to have water on tap – to be thankful for the water we have. Perhaps this week every time you turn the tap on, or flush the loo or have a shower or bath you could put aside 5p or 10p and then send it to one of the water aid based charities to enable others to have clean water too?
God of Creation, creating order from chaos,
Forgive us when our actions create the chaos
and then we expect you to put it right.
Forgive us when we decide to live in dangerous places
and expect to be safe and blame you when it is not.
Forgive us that those who have much,
take more of their share and then put the poorest in jeopardy.
Stir our consciences to live as you call us to, stewarding the resources,
caring for the poor and vulnerable
and recognising that all we have comes from you.
Cleanse and renew us with your Life-giving Water
that we may be channels of your love, light and healing in the world.
Prayer for the Week by Denise Creed
Photo: Llandudno sea front
You can download this week’s prayer as a .pdf here