Poem written in response to a Hurricane
A poem written by Marc Nelesen in response to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. After Hurricane Harvey, it was adapted and used in worship. It can be adapted to be used in response to other natural disasters.
Poem: (written in response to Hurricane Katrina)
A city weeps
and drowns in its tears
And your creation groans.
as chaos waters uncreate.
Cups of suffering overflow
filling the bowl that was once a city.
as young and old - and families! -
are untimely ripped.
The earth convulses,
the waters roar and foam
in this broken act
of earthen terrorism.
Where are You in this?
Creation groans - do you hear it?
Creation groans -
are you sleeping warm and dry in the belly of a boat?!
Are you “hovering over the waters” at a safe distance?
Can’t you do something about this calamity?
Will we all die?
Don’t you hear us cry for the poor of the city?
Don’t you hear us cry for the homeless,
the lost and hungry?
Or are the cries you hear from us a different kind?
Cries about our wonderings:
of rising gas prices,
of the ripple effect in the economy,
and our uncertainty about the future -
a future we’ve been designing.
And worst of all
our selfish, Pseudo-Praise of
“Thank God it didn’t happen to us.”
Are you lamenting right now
over our inability to truly lament?
Are you grieving our unfaith
to complain believingly?
Something must be said,
so creation groans.
offering words that we cannot express.
We dare not for we do not have the faith.
Creation groans yearning to be set free
from our voicelessness,
from our notions of prosperity,
and false security.
It groans because you have become part of it.
because it wants to be born again.
yearning for a glimpse
of the long-in-coming New City.
because you are not in the wind
nor the storm
nor the tempest surge.
because you are in the orphaned child
the poor man
and the thirsty woman.
You are in the one whose sweat and tears
drip like blood
and fill the cup
and the bowl.
There you are.
You and only You.
because the tears that fill the city
Lord, have mercy on us.
Prayer: (written in response to Hurricane Harvey)
After Hurricane Harvey, this poem was adapted and used in worship as a prayer of Lament and Confession, using the song "Pelas dores deste mundo/For the Troubles and the Sufferings of the World" which echoes the words of Romans 8:22, calling for God's assistance in a time of need, all the while, affirming a trust in a God who saves.
Yes, Lord have mercy!
A city weeps and drowns in its tears
as your creation groans.
Creation groans as chaos waters uncreate.
Suffering overflows and fills a city.
The waters roar and foam:
Lord have mercy!
Lord have mercy!
Our cities, communities and families are divided;
we argue about healthcare, immigration,
borders and race.
In your mercy,
call us out of our self-made divisions
and into cross-shaped love.
Move us beyond our fears and suspicions of others,
and into Christ-like compassion.
In a world in need, help us to lead the way in love:
Lord have mercy on us!
Sing (second half only): "Pelas dores deste mundo/For the Troubles and the Sufferings of the World"