[Italicized portions below from John Newton’s hymn Amazing Grace]
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
God of grace and sound, we need finding. The world around us is broken by climatic and political chaos, and many of us feel wretched and blind.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
God of relief, help us to believe. We have lost faith in our governments: 600 citizens are displaced in Ethiopia following a boundary dispute, and nearly half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh following what is widely perceived as ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come.
We have lost lives and land to the danger of fires:
§ In Malaysia, where 23 children and two school staff were killed in a fire at a Muslim boarding school
§ In Kenya, where a 14-year-old student set fire to a school dormitory that killed nine other students
§ Across the Western United States, from Southern California to Glacier National Park in Montana, experts predict this wildfire season to be one of the worst in decades
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
God of safety and home, we ask you to help the people of Texas in the United States as they rebuild their homes and communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. And we lost lives as a result of Hurricane Irma in the following countries:
§ British Virgin Islands
§ Puerto Rico
§ St. Barts
§ Saint Martin
§ Sint Maarten
§ Turks and Caicos
§ US Virgin Islands
When this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
We are grateful to those who bring joy and peace into our lives: first responders, children, religious leaders, teachers, parents, healers, and the families we create. We have found grace in the responses of the American, British, Dutch, and French governments as they provide aid to Caribbean populations devastated by Hurricane Irma.
God of grace, help us to find amazing, help us to be amazing, and help us to be found. Amen.