The devastating wildfires on Maui this past week continue to reverberate grief. Even if we don’t have family or close ties to the island, we are part of the Creator’s web connecting each of us to all others. Many of you have wondered how best to help. The Hawaii Conference UCC has asked us to send direct financial support to the United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries. There will also be an online prayer vigil on Sunday, August 20 at 7:00 pm Pacific Time (4:00 pm Hawaii Time). More information about the vigil will be posted here.
We also cannot help but recognize the effects of climate change on real lives, real communities. Fires, floods, and other natural disasters have become more destructive, affecting more people, animals, beauty, history… As Christians, it is part of our work to acknowledge the loss and move forward to support those grieving as we also care better for creation. Knowing that God is with us and we are with one another helps us through such painful times.
I’ll close with the prayer Rev. David Popham, Conference Minister of the Hawaii Conference UCC, shared this week:
It came so fast God, relentlessly driven by winds and we were so vulnerable. Escaping with the clothes on our backs. Lives in tatters. Homes gone. Businesses gone. Jobs gone. Lives lost. Where do we go to even raise our prayers when our hale pule became a burnt victim to the ravages of the fire? There is so much loss, so much that one day was there and is now ashes. Comfort us in our tears and carry our heavy hearts in our time of sorrow.
Eventually Ke Akua, our energy will turn to rebuilding our homes, our businesses, our jobs, our lives. Walk with us during the long recovery that lies ahead. We will become frustrated by bureaucratic red tape and supply chain delays and price gouging. We will fume and shake our fists and we will cry even more tears. Yet, the journey will not be as overwhelming with you by our side.
Bless O God, those fighting these wildfires and those fires yet to come during this dry season. Grant wisdom and insights to our government officials—county and state—as they navigate how best to administer the government response. Lift up on wings our pastoral leaders as they give spiritual nurture to those depleted by these fires.
May we root ourselves in you God, knowing your Spirit groans with ours. Grant us succor in this time and in the days ahead. ‘Amene.*
‘Amene, Pastor Sharon
*Hawaiian terms in Rev. Popham’s prayer: Hale Pule - house of prayer Ke Akua - God ‘Amene - amen