a strong back and gentle hands

This morning I joined the online service of Morning Prayer that St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Cypress, TX, has been offering daily since day one of Hurricane Harvey.  This day the service was held in the narthex of the church, where many parishioners and friends had gathered before journeying out into the community to help other parishioners, friends, and strangers tear out and down their flood-ravished homes.

The Rev. Alan Bentrup, Curate, offered these words toward the end of the service: “We pray for us as we leave this place; give us a strong back and gentle hands, that we may love and serve our neighbors, and grow closer to You, to each other and with the world.”

In a blog written this morning by St. Mary’s Rector, The Rev. Beth Fain, she wrote about her personal losses from her flooded home.  “It’s just stuff….connected to our hearts.”  She encouraged those who help clean out the homes of their friends, neighbors and strangers, to remember that “each item of stuff holds a memory, and that each item tossed in the front yard or placed in a garbage bag or dumpster is a little goodbye for the person you are helping”.

I would add to Alan+’s prayer, give us a strong back, gentle hands, and a loving heart as we tend to those who are in the midst of loss.

Often we we are asked to have a strong back. To lift a heavy load, to stand up with and for those who cannot do so alone, to take on burdens for which we feel are more than our backs can carry.


Often we are asked to have gentle hands as we soothe an injury or hurt, place our hand on someone’s back, or walk hand-in-hand with one who needs both care and shared joy.


Often we are asked to have a loving heart when that may be the least thing we are feeling toward a person or a place, a moment or a lifetime.


How is it possible to respond to all these “asks”?


I’m still clicking (donate to Episcopal Relief and Development)  and praying my way through this day and the days to follow.

Use your God given gifts to serve others. 1 Peter 4:10

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