God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance, in storm and distress, we
welcome the restoring power of your love and compassion. We open our hearts in sorrow,
gratitude, and hope: that those who have been spared nature’s fury as well as those whose
lives are changed forever by ravages of wind and water may find solace, sustenance, and
strength in the days of recovery and rebuilding that come.
We are thankful for the generous grace of days of preparation; for the wise counsel of
experts and the generous collaboration of so many communities, that in the face of the
storm kept many out of harm’s way, and lessened the effects of wind and water on others.
We pray for those yet in harm’s way; who wait in neighborhoods while the waters rise, who
pray for the rains to cease. We pray for those huddled at home or among strangers while
wind ravages, for those who have fled from home and wait and wonder. We ask for
sustaining courage, for the kindness of strangers, for hope that does not disappoint.
We open ourselves to listen with compassion to the stories of those whom Hurricane
Harvey has not spared: communities deeply affected, whose livelihood, homes and stability
have been destroyed. We pray in grief, honoring the lives, shattered and the livelihoods,
homes and businesses for whom recovery seems an insurmountable mountain. We lift our
voices in sorrow and compassion for families who have lost loved ones, homes, or
We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among
agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to
flow as powerfully as rivers and streams, as we, your people, respond to the deep human
needs beginning to emerge in the wake of the storm.
In these days of relief, assessment and response, open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands
to the needs of your children and the movements of your Spirit, who flows in us like the river
whose streams makes glad the city of God, and the hearts of all who dwell in it, and in You.
In the name of Christ the Healer we pray, amen.
Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
PDA has been in touch with the presbyteries in the path of Hurricane Harvey to offer assistance. We are standing by with resources and National Response Team members ready to deploy upon invitation
and when it is safe to do so.For those who wish to support PDA's emergency response and
recovery efforts, gifts can be designated to DR000169-Harvey. Information on how to give can be found at our Presbyterian Disaster Assistance web site or you can write a check to FPC and we will
make sure PDA receives your gift.
Christmas is costly . . . Not just financially, but relationally. You likely can’t afford to buy five golden rings or ten lord’s a leaping. But we can afford to connect. The impact of what we buy with our money fades fast. Ask me in March what I got for Christmas and I’ll likely have to think about it. Jesus’ birth shows us that the cost, the impact of connecting relationally resonates forever. We should share our space, and experience and share our heart. It will likely be some of the best spending we ever do.
What did Christmas cost Mary? It nearly cost her marriage to Joseph. Only the timely intervention of an angel convinced Joseph not to do “the right thing” and send her away, but the loving thing and expose himself to ridicule.
What did Christmas cost Mary and Joseph together? It cost them their home. When they learned that Herod’s soldiers would soon arrive, with infanticide on their minds, their brief journey to Bethlehem stretched into years of exile in Egypt.
What did Christmas cost the Magi? Many months of arduous travel. What about the shepherds? They had to risk descending from the high meadows into the town below, where they would be subject to abuse and ridicule from the more settled populace.
What’s Christmas likely to cost us? . . . . A large bill on our January credit-card statement?
Really? The cost of our Christmas isn’t even in the same league as these mentioned above!
Merry Christmas everyone,