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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Friday, September 01, 2006

Further adventures

And so it continues...

All but a very few of my regular parishioners have had to evacuate, scattered to the four winds: to family and friends in Red Lodge and Billings. Those remaining are on "pre-evacuation alert." They have trucks packed, and belongings sorted, and they wait: for winds to shift, for air temperature and humidity to rise and fall.

One parish family, so far-- our organist-- has lost their home. A beautiful place, rustic and elegant, nestled along the Stillwater River... gone. Others are still waiting news. The National Guard is supplementing the county sheriff's department, setting up blockades to keep civilians out of the fire perimeter and evacuated areas. It continues to expand-- over 156,000 acres, and still growing.

The parish records-- decades of baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials-- are now riding around in the trunk of my car.

In the middle of all of this, we (several of the local pastors in the area) held a community prayer service. We prayed, and read scripture, and sang... and we allowed time for sharing, for prayer concerns.

Here is a remarkable thing: of all the people who spoke during that time (and there were several), every single one of them-- without exception-- did so to give thanks.
  • For lives preserved-- none have been lost, to date.
  • For the work of the firefighters and search and rescue crews, long on coffee and short on sleep, who have given their very best, and continue to try in the face of unprecedented weather and ground conditions.
  • For the support and care of neighbors, known and unknown... who came from miles around with cars and trucks and trailers, to help move possessions and pets and livestock out of harm's way, and who are providing beds for sleeping and lands for grazing without a second thought.
Our organist's one comment, having just lost a lifetime's worth of accumulated possessions? She was thankful that her neighbors had been spared.

Me? I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for all of your prayers.. and how I am blessed to be in the midst of these people.

And now, back to work.


Anonymous pPB said...

This is pastoral training by fire!

September 01, 2006 1:13 PM  

Blogger Songbird said...

That spirit of thankfulness is beautiful. Continuing to pray for you.

September 01, 2006 2:11 PM  

Anonymous mary said...

if you need any help ( i have no earthly idea with what ), i will be around that area most of the weekend. also, i have hyper motivated youth if a project like that ends up arising.

September 01, 2006 2:54 PM  

Blogger the reverend mommy said...

You have my prayers as well.
May God keep you and bless you.

September 01, 2006 5:27 PM  

Blogger Pink Shoes said...

Thoughts and prayers be with you -- please keep us posted as you are able.

September 01, 2006 7:36 PM  

Blogger mid-life rookie said...

My prayers are also with you and your congregation.

September 01, 2006 7:54 PM  

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