From the Gospel of Luke:
Jesus said, “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar, but on the lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.”
(From the Daily Office Lectionary – Luke 11:33-36 – October 30, 2012)
Last night Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard of the United States. Atlantic City was hit hard; the iconic boardwalk is gone; and with electrical power failures, the neon lights of the casino signs went dark. In Manhattan, a ConEd transformer station blew up; video of the explosion was quickly posted on Facebook and later shown on national television news programs. The lower third of the island was in darkness. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people are now without electrical power and may not have light or heat for many days.
In this morning’s gospel lesson Jesus makes his point about the spiritual light within each person. The devastation wreaked by this storm, if our experience with prior disastrous such as Katrina, Irene, and many others, is simply the beginning of a very dark period for a lot of people. It will be a time when the light within each will be tested and some will truly shine. It goes without saying that these kinds of events can bring out the worst in some people, but it is also true that they can and do bring out the best in many others.
I have several friends who are volunteers with the Red Cross and other agencies in the affected area, and other friends who are clergy or active lay church members. I know that they will all be hard at work doing what they can to relieve the sufferings of others, even as they themselves have been affected by the storm. Their eyes are clear, they see what has to be done, and the light of Christ shines in and through them.
I thought of them last night as I watched the news of the storm. For them and for all who must now cope with the loss and damage caused by Sandy, I offered this prayer from the Order of Compline:
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen. (BCP 1979, page 132)
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep throughout the time of recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and bless especially those who are light in the darkness.
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Father Funston is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Medina, Ohio.