August 23, 2011

Did you feel it?

The earth moved today, literally.  I was sitting in my office a little before 2:00 this afternoon when it felt as if someone was pushing my chair.  For a moment I thought someone sneaked into my office unnoticed and was trying to scare me.  That would have been of difficult since my desk faces the office door.  But, I actually did turn around to see if someone was there.  I thought that I was having some sort of paranormal experience.  Then I saw my office door swinging and felt the floor rocking.  The pastor's assistant, who sits right outside my office, said she was feeling woozy. Then it hit me, she wasn't having vertigo and I didn't need to call Ghost Busters - it was an earthquake! Being a lifetime New Yorker I only experience an earthquake one other time 29 years ago when one hit in the early morning hours while I was up nursing my son.  That shook the house and sounded like a freight train was roaring down the block.  This one was quiet and more like a rolling sensation.  The parochial vicar in the next office yelled out to stand in the doorway. I guess he figured that if the church building fell down we would be safe there.  The receptionist suggested running into the parking lot.  Well the four of us stayed put and the movement stopped and the phone calls began.  When we realized the earthquake was in Virginia, about 6 hours away, we figured we were safe and went back to work. I actually enjoyed the experience and was hoping for some aftershocks.

Later on I was reflecting on the experience and thought that while we here on Long Island were able to make light of the whole thing, we all have seen how devastating an earthquake can be. No one is really safe from natural disasters.  Hurricane Irene may escalate into a category 4 and smack in to the US in a few days time and hurricane season is still not over.  The word that came to me was to be prepared. At least with a hurricane there is some warning, but that doesn't mean much when winds hit at 100+ MPH. Without question, people will be running to stores to buy plywood, duct tape, batteries, and of course food and water. But that is not the kind of preparation I am talking about.  If some sudden cataclysmic disaster struck, would I be spiritually prepared?

The Gospel reading for this coming Thursday seems to sum it all up quite succinctly.
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

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