Several families we know lost their homes in Moore. Others received damage and will need to plan repairs. We await word to go in and help.
A number of friends from out of state contacted us to see if we were affected by the tornado. We were not in the path of the storm. But, for those of us who faced the aftermath of the May 3 tornado, we remember. The path of the tornado takes in more than the physical. We all are glad to hear from friends. We also know that some will quickly offer a religious, theological thought that may or may not be helpful. And, we find helpful prayers in what, for some of us, may be unexpected places.
A Text Message
My friend Tripp texted me. His young son Elgin gave him instructions.
I do not have time, and struggle with the energy, to respond to John Piper’s Tweets after the May 20, 2013 tornado. He quotes Job. He removes the Tweet. He tries again. He then offers a prayer via Tweet. It is hard to gauge his motive. But, he has a history of going Pat Robertson on causality for such events. He does not know. Neither do we. I tire of it when what is called from us is empathy and love. These will be louder than our theologizing whether from Tuttle or Minneapolis.
I re-post it here. This is the sort of prayer we need rather than ambiguous tweets.
By Abby Jacobson, Emanuel Synagogue, Oklahoma City, OK
Lord our God, we stood before You just a week ago to receive the Ten Statements of Your Torah. We stood, as though with our ancestors, and listened to the Torah reader chant descriptions of the smoking mountain, the thunderous rumbling, and the long-awaited voice of God.
This afternoon, the people of central Oklahoma did not stand to hear the voice of God. We sat, we paced, and we huddled. We listened to the voice of the meteorologists and watched as dark clouds swirled together over a cone of destruction. The rain fell upward, not down, and the thunderous roar of the swirling winds carried, and we saw the awesome power of God. This was not Shavuot—the Feast of Weeks that marked our days of freedom. This was minutes that seemed like years and trapped us into watching the same images of destruction.
Merciful God, a great and powerful windstorm has passed, and it has torn apart the buildings and shattered the rocks before You. You told Elijah, the prophet, that You were not in the windstorm. Please, then, be in the still, small voices of the children crying out to be found. Be in the voices of the rescuers calling out for survivors. Be in the cries of those who are lost and of those who have lost.
May it be Your will that those who are missing be found alive and be cared for well, and may the people of central Oklahoma find strength in You and in one another as we rebuild what we can.