Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:11
Such have been the words that have been on my mind over the last week of weather chaos in the Washington DC area for literally on Tuesday, the ground on which the church stands, where I was working away at my desk, began to shake.
Though I can laugh about it now, upon first notice of the strange movement in the church, my first thoughts were “Someone is breaking in! We need to call the police!” A loud clanging noise seemed to keep thumbing on the roof. It sounded like an army was invading our usual quiet work space in Lake Anne. But soon it was apparent as the church building continued to shake that such a distribution was not the work that any human or group of human beings could cause.
My second thought was “Some of our recent repairs on the church building are faltering, maybe we are having a structural problem,” but before I had much time to think twice about this, Deb, the church administrator had figured it out. The unthinkable had happened: an earthquake. “Let’s go, Elizabeth! Let’s go!”
Before we had time to say to one another that we were not in California for goodness sake, there was no way this would be happening, in panic we took action. Quickly, she and I ran out of the church (which I later learned was NOT the thing to do– we should have just hid under our desks) and were greeted outdoors by our equally bewildered neighbors. “What in the world just happened?” was the thought we simultaneously shared with one another. ”I guess, I’m not going crazy, then” was the cry of relief of all.
As we met some of the employees who work in the small business office unit next to the church, an interesting outreach opportunity materialized. I met people whom I’d never seen or spoken to before. As we exchanged details of what we did and our sacred we just were, there was the usual “look” when people found out they were talking to a pastor. One person even said, patting me on the shoulder: “Maybe this was a sign that God wants me to come back to church. . . .” “Of course,” I said, “You are welcomed anytime. Sundays at 11 am!”
Funny thing is, though, church this Sunday might be in jeopardy of all being normal again (if my new friend’s sudden interest in church has indeed lasted) as all of us are preparing for the furry of hurricane Irene making its way up the east coast. Talk around town involves questions of “Do you have enough batteries?” “Do you have your bottled water and canned goods?” “Have you secured your lawn from items that could become projector toward your house?” Though it seems by the hour, Target and other big box stores are running out of the essentials.
While I know our friends in Florida and New Orleans are exclaiming how glad they are that this storm is not hitting them for once and DC will most certainly not get the worst– our hearts go out to those on the coast, especially along the Outerbanks and in the Tidewater region– still Irene is rearing her ugly head and causing all of us to take notice.
It has been a week for all to remember that certainly we are not in control, as much as we think we might be . . .
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed and the week of weird weather continues, there is one thing that we can all be certain of that has nothing to do with our emergency preparation kits or generators, that the compassion of the Lord will never fail us. And, I hope for the possibility to see all of you Washington Plaza folks on Sunday.