Emergency

September 14, 2012

Excerpt from Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Reflection by Molly Baskette

Years ago, when I was about to be ordained, I was at a summer folk festival on a gigantic farm in Vermont.  Things went a little Lord of the Flies with all the drugs and alcohol around, and four young men got into a pushing fight with an older man. He had a heart attack, and died, just five tents away from me.

The paramedics worked on him, trying to resuscitate him, for almost an hour. For almost an hour, we ringed them in silence, a human arena for the drama unfolding. Nobody approached the police or the paramedics. There didn't seem to be any family around. The man was alone.

For that whole hour, I tried out speeches in my head. "I'm an ordained minister, can I help? I'm about to be ordained; I'm a minister, can I help in some way?" I never did approach the police to offer my help. I stayed on the edge, spectating, like everybody else.

These days, we live in the city. My kids and I hear a lot of sirens and drive by a lot of drama. I've taught my kids about the power of prayer, and I've taught them how to bless things and people—by rubbing their hands together and then holding their hands aloft, palms out, and asking God to be with that person or situation. They began asking me: "Mom, can we pray for the people in that ambulance?" And so now we do, every time.

If I were back in that summer-green field, looking death in the face, I'd like to think that these days, as an older and more humbled finally-ordained minister, I would say, "I'm a human. Can I help?" Or at least I could hold up my hands in blessing.

Prayer

Lord God, help is always coming from You - but sometimes we are the bodies you animate to deliver that help. Give me the courage and authority to be an actor in some of the dramas, and not always a spectator.

About the Author
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister at First Church Somerville UCC, in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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