Resurrection. It's not a word I use a lot, yet as I looked at the pictures of New Orleans, Biloxi, and other communities under the floodwaters left by hurricane Katrina, it was the only word that came to mind. These communities can come back to life, and our prayers can help them do it.
One specific thing I'm praying for is unity. With so many different departments of the federal and state governments involved, so many businesses, schools, and individuals all trying to figure out what to do next, my prayers are that God, the one Mind or divine intelligence, will guide each step of the way.
When I was growing up, the saying "Many hands make light work" helped capture the feeling that when everyone works together, even a huge task - such as doing all the haying for the winter - can be made easier.
In her writings, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, emphasized the value of unity. In "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," she wrote that unity is "the bond of perfectness, the thousandfold expansion that will engirdle the world, - unity, which unfolds the thought most within us into the greater and better, the sum of all reality and good." She continued, "This unity is reserved wisdom and strength. It builds upon the rock, against which envy, enmity, or malice beat in vain" (p. 164).
That thought of unity being "reserved wisdom and strength" offers hope that even if the mental and physical demands of the recovery work continue to be great, there are spiritual reserves that will restore those engaged in it. And because the one Mind is an intelligent and loving God, we can trust that all needs will be met in a way that is totally appropriate for each one. No one can be left out.
For me, this passage from the book of Daniel captures the genuine love that God has for each of His children. At the time, Daniel was visited by an angel who told him, "O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong." Daniel comments as a kind of biblical aside, "And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened" (Dan. 10:19).
To me, this passage says that each one of us is God's "greatly beloved." There are no economic, racial, or political barriers in the God who loves greatly. Even in the deepest trouble, this infinite love is with each individual, no matter how deep the water - or other trouble - may be.
In our prayers for the Gulf Coast, we can affirm that it is possible to overcome fear and to gain the peace of Love's presence, guiding each decision that needs to be made. Through Love, one can gain patience to approach the process of getting assistance, filing insurance claims, and standing in line for any other things that are needed.
God is also there to provide hope, inspiration, strength, and wisdom. This divine provision reveals ideas that will make these cities safer and stronger and will enable the people who have lost their homes to more easily find the assistance they need.
The book of Joel in the Bible includes the promise, "I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten" (Joel 2:25). Even though the conditions seem overwhelming, right now resurrection is occurring as each individual picks up that first piece of debris or recovers a loved picture or object that warms his or her heart.
Through our prayers, we can support the thought that the days, weeks, or months that the waters have eaten will be restored, and a spiritual and mental resurrection is possible for all who were in Katrina's path.
Fear thou not;
for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee;
yea, I will help thee.