I’m Robin Jacobson, minister at the Trinity United Church and this is Aug 16th in Vernon, BC.
Linda and I were due to have flown out from Kelowna yesterday to spend two weeks with our grandsons in Germany, but our flight was postponed first to today and then to tomorrow – citing ‘crew constraints” whatever that means. Hopefully tomorrow still happens.
What a time this is, surrounded as we are by these really scary wildfires that are just raging largely uncontrolled throughout our Central and Northern Okanagan.
And last night particularly, with that ominously surreal red sky and suffocating all-pervasive smoke.
I know how easy it is for us all to panic, to rush toward imagining the very worst case scenarios and to believe that THAT is what is most inevitable! And so we slip into despair. Many of us in our wider community have been told by the authorities either to be on evacuation alert or have been given evacuation notice and so have had immediately to leave homes. We pray for the safe return for all of these just as soon as possible – once this danger has passed. We think particularly of those who have been forced helplessly to allow their homes to be destroyed: we think of the people of Lytton, most recently of those living on the outskirts of West Kelowna, or just west of us in Killiney Beach or north in Falkland, Westwold, Monte Lake, elsewhere… Dear God, have mercy.
And yet we truly want to be hopeful. And so we pray against the worst case scenarios ever becoming a general reality. We pray that the 60% chance of rain which is being forecast for today, for tomorrow, will come – and that it will be significant enough to make all the difference we need – and with minimal lightning.
How grateful we are to the heroism of so many who continue to do everything they can to fight this, the professionals on the ground and in the air, the volunteers supporting the evacuees. We so deeply appreciate the sacrifices they are making to save us and our possessions. There are no words… We pray for God’s wisdom, strength and protection for them and all their families.
Our prayer is also that the vast majority of our local and wider community will be spared from having to face the worst of this – that the worst case scenarios do NOT happen! And so may there be comfort and healing for all those most affected, and protection and God’s own Shalom peace of Christ Jesus for us all.