Tornado Season – Again

Tornado season has come to us again, just ask those in and around Canton, TX (and many other places as well). The forecast for the week calls for more severe weather beginning on Wednesday and moving East again. I overlooked this prayer from 2014 when I was compiling the previously posted psalms and prayers (on Facebook™), but a former student found it and reposted it on the old site (thanks Lynn!) when those in Canton needed words. And so I repost as well, with the prayer that you do not need these words. If you know of a friend in need, send them the prayer.

Lord, it’s that time of year again,
      when many keep a weather-vigil;
because they know how fast
      a blue sky with fluffy white clouds,
can turn into a boiling dark cauldron
      of hail, rain, wind – and tornadoes.

The evening news is already reporting
      the loss of life as it shows the pictures:
before – when tornadoes hit other people,
      after – when they suddenly turned on you.

Lord, how can we see and not appeal
      for your compassion on our neighbors;
they hardly know where to start today,
      much less what to do tomorrow;
and for your compassion when the cameras
      have long gone, chasing the next story

We know, Lord, the season has only begun,
      for weeks and months to come
      the vigil will continue.
We will hear the same stories,
      see the same awful pictures:
cars and trucks tossed like toys,
      houses reduced to sticks and stones –
that break our hearts night after night,
      and survivors walking in a daze.

God, we don’t know what to do,
      how do we help from long distance?
Especially tonight when the storms fire again,
      a continual report of tornadoes and damage.
What would you have your people do – ?
      but pray for those who are afraid.
      ask your mercy upon the children.
      beg for lives not to be lost.
      plead for the welfare of the poor.
      petition for the safety of first-responders.

We’ve run out of words;
      Spirit please hear our hearts and speak.
      Please Lord.

Glenn Pemberton is a minister turned professor turned writer. After serving churches in Texas and Colorado, Glenn completed a Ph.D. (Old Testament). He then taught at Oklahoma Christian University before coming to Abilene Christian University in 2005, retiring as professor emeritus in 2017 due to a severe chronic pain. Glenn now spends his time writing for the church. Along with short essays he has published four books, including The God who Saves: An Introduction to the Message of the Old Testament (2015), and Hurting with God: Learning to Lament with the Psalms (2012). Glenn and his wife Dana continue to live in Abilene, Texas.

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Author:  Publish Date: May 2, 2017

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The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
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Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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