When I read the news Thursday morning that all Flagstaff Fire pre-evacuation orders for our south Boulder neighborhoods had been lifted, I breathed a prayer of gratitude and relief. When I read the updates on the Waldo Canyon Fire, I breathed a prayer for comfort and mercy. When I read about the High Park Fire mop-up efforts, I breathed a prayer for strength and endurance to recover and rebuild.
Although several of our members were on pre-evacuation alert no one was actually forced to evacuate. As far as I know, we are all OK at this time.
I can barely begin to imagine what it is like to be given a pre-evacuation order. When I think about this, I make mental lists of what I would pack in my car and what I might never see again. It is even harder for me to think about what it is like to evacuate a home in the face of fire. The idea of over 32,000 evacuated people in Colorado Springs is nearly beyond comprehension. And then, it is nearly impossible to fathom the idea of actually losing everything to fire. Yet, hundreds of people are facing such loss.
Many are suggesting this is, and will continue to be, the worst fire season in the history of our beloved Colorado. All along the front range, as well as throughout the Rocky Mountain West, fires are burning. We do not know what other fires will burn this summer.
I’ve talked with lots of people about these fires. Almost everyone talks both about how worried and anxious they are, and about how fearful they are of what might be coming. I word folks use a lot is unsettled. I am unsettled, too. It is hard to have a sense of settled-ness in the face of so much disruption and uncertainty. Times like this remind me that maybe I do not control all that much about life.
So in these unsettled days, I have been using Psalm 121 as a way to settle down, if even for just a few minutes. The Peterson version of Psalm 121 goes like this:
I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
God won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.
God’s your Guardian, right at your side to protect you-
Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.
God guards you from every evil, God guards your very life.
God guards you when you leave and when you return.
God guards you now, God guards you always.
Written in a turbulent time, this psalm an ancient witness to the idea that God cares about us no matter what and is with us in all the changing circumstances of life. I believe that right now God is with us in our unsettledness. And I believe that right now God invites us all to rest for a few moments and center ourselves in the unwavering love of God.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday. In the meantime, please keep all who are affected by the fires in your prayers, please keep all who fight these fires in your prayers, please keep our beloved church in your prayers, and please say a prayer for yourself, too. I remember you in my prayers.
Here is a link to a letter from our Bishop about Colorado Wildfires and how you can help. Click the line below.