Sandy's First Birthday

Sandy's First Birthday

October 29, 2013
Written by Steven Liechty

Donna Schaper

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you . . . ." - Psalm 43:1

The wind picked up last week, late in the afternoon.  It took all my energy to convince myself that we weren't being blown away again.  As a New Yorker, I was experiencing post-traumatic Sandy stress syndrome.

The wind picked up the afternoon of Sandy and then put one foot in front of the other, first walking, then running, then racing to a full force gale by midnight.  The wind didn't die down.  There were moments during the gale that we thought it might never die down.  You could hear the big trees crashing in the park.  You could see the water rising on Second Avenue.

I want to believe those ads that say if you quit smoking now, you might be all right in a year and that ten years out you could begin to have pink lungs again.  The planet has been smoking a long time.  I want also to believe the psalmist's promise, that we will not be abandoned.

Renewing our energy has a liturgical pattern. It begins with confession.  Yes, I am part of the howling wind.  It moves to a hearing of the word.  Yes, I hear the call to stop smoking.  It turns towards offertory.  Yes I will give myself the gift of a reversal of field.  I will walk another way, even if my steps are small and slightly absurd.  And I will take communion and experience a renewable energy.  Prayer and liturgy are renewable forms of energy.


Renew, O God, and reverse us.  Amen

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.

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