I’m thinking about burning today.
Summers in the northwest are often filled with long nights, bright stars, and warm fires. Even the smell of campfire warms me in a way that not much else can. I long for evenings that last too long under summer skies.
My home is kept warm in the winter with a dark stove tucked in safely within a brick hiding place – designed to keep the warmth in and the smoke out.
Smoke. That’s why I’m thinking about burning today.
A few years ago, my son’s teacher lost their home to a fire. Devastating. Discouraging. The uphill climb to replacing not just things – but memories, safety, a home.
Today, the news said “the West is on fire”.
- 40 large fires are actively burning in Oregon, Washington, and California
- Hundreds of thousands of acres are currently on fire
- 10% of the population of Oregon has been evacuated
- In Washington, more acres have burned this year than the past 12 fire seasons
- By September 8, over 1 million acres and 3,500 structures have been damaged or destroyed in California
I live in on a peninsula, insulated, for the most part, from the flames, but not the smoke . . . Outside, the sky is greyish purple – filled with smoke from the burning.
The burning that is causing people to lose their homes, farmland, schools, businesses, and dreams.
The burning that has killed at least 15 people. 15 lives taken, not warmed, by fire.
The burning that feels like insult to injury amid a global pandemic and so much uncertainty and loss.
The burning. The smoke.
When I woke up this morning, the first thing I saw was the smoke outside. Then, I looked at the calendar. And I remembered the news saying something else all those years ago: “The towers are on fire.”
I remember the smoke most clearly, coming through the tiny TV in my Pre-Algebra classroom before school started. School never started on September 11, 2001.
So much loss. So much devastation. The smoke sometimes feels like it is still in the air.
Today, I wish I had something beautiful to say that would put out the fires. Yes, the fires in our land – but also the fires causing destruction to our hearts.
So much feels like it is burning. We are choking on the smoke from it.
I don’t know what to say, but I do know what to do: We pray for rain.
Quenching, cleansing, refreshing rain.
Quenching Rain: We pray for rain to stop the fires. We pray for the quenching of fear, anger, and division in our world that leads to destruction and violence.
Cleansing Rain: We pray for rain to clear the smoke and stop the damage. We pray for the cleansing of our communities and families from hate, distrust, actions that bring harm, and any other evil that causes pain to people who bear the image of God.
Refreshing Rain: We pray for rain that will renew and rebuild after loss. There is so much in need of renewing in our world, starting with me – and so we pray for rain that will refresh the hearts of people and draw us into a new way of living.
While the world is burning, my friends, we pray for rain.
PLACES TO PROVIDE PHYSICAL RESOURCES:
The Red Cross
(Taking donations & volunteers)
Local Food Banks
(Financial and food donations)
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy
(Grants for rebuilding)