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2013storm1

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a precise devastation. No people dead*, no homes destroyed, just cattle. And, lots of them…. an estimated 25,000. To our neighbors out west it must feel like the plague on livestock all over again.

I know God loves cows:  Jonah 4:11 – “But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their left hand from their right, AND MANY CATTLE AS WELL. Should I not be concerned about that great city?

Here is taste of prairie spirituality as it relates to what we are facing right now in Western South Dakota. I share it to help you pray for our neighbors just west… Broken Dreams and Hearts on the Western Dakota Prairie.

You don’t just simply go “buy new cows” and start over. The foundation is removed. The legacy.  The years.  The work.  The love. The faith. It takes years of work and faith to grow a herd . . . to raise healthy, quality cattle. It takes decades.

We look for bits of hope. The news of a family who has found live cattle brings rejoicing. Freeing live tree branches from snow banks to reach toward the sky again, feels life-giving. Finding life.

You can read here what I wrote about neighborliness as a response to this crisis. Hopefully there will be some Federal relief, but here we are in a shutdown and government is broke and it’s not the governments job take care of a neighbor in need. That’s where you and I come in and we are accountable.

Neighborliness is America at it’s best.

I hope you will make a significant donation to the Rancher Relief fund the governor has set up.  Here are additional suggested ways you can help.

2013storm3We’ve now learned that four South Dakotans did lose their lives in accidents or misfortunes related to the storm in western South Dakota.

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The Seas Furthest Side
Based on Psalm 139:7-12
 
On my left, on my right
Four directions in your sight
Ever-present, Wind of Heaven
 
Senseless to hide
Futile to flee
Jesus, Great in pursuit of me
 
Encountered in heaven
Settled on earth
Abba you’re everywhere, there
 
Risen on dawns wings
On the seas furthest side
Ever-present Friend in heaven.
 
Dark isn’t dark
Day trumps night
Ever-present Light.

– Steve Hickey

Under an Open Heaven
 (Based on Genesis 28:11-17 with antiphonal responses from Zephaniah 4:18. Unison responses and readings in bold. Stanzas alternatively read by various readers.)

Burdens ascending
Down come mercies without delays
Bumper to bumper angels
Like rush hour both ways

           The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save.

Jesus high and majestic
Everyman Jacob bent low, below
Floor to ceiling goodness
And grace head to toe

            He will take great delight in you.

The veil is rent,
The thin membrane frays
Heaven and earth made one
Full-color, brilliant arrays

            He will quiet you with his love

Lay under the portal
Rest your head on hard stones
Weary ones encountering him here
Praying only sighs and groans.

            He will rejoice over you with singing.

Glorious and terrifying
Astounding and holy
Behold the House of God
The Gate of Heaven

– Steve Hickey

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In a Dry and Weary Land
from Psalm 63:1

O God, you are my God
Earnestly I seek you,
My soul thirsts for you,
My body longs for you,
In a dry and weary land
Where there is no water.

In a dry and weary land
Fill me, El Shaddai, my cup is half empty
In a dry and weary land
Fill me, El Shaddai, my cup is half full
In a dry and weary land
Fill me, El Shaddai, til my cup runs over
In a dry and weary land
You are the God of more than enough.

Never meager, never grudging, never skimpy, never scant.
Never miserly, never stingy, never paltry, never can’t.
Never rationing, never trace, never any lack.
Nothing in your nature pinches pennies, you fill my pack.
 
In a dry and weary land,
Abundance is you.
In a dry and weary land,
Soaking Rain, come.

– Steve Hickey

Using one of Richard Foster’s categories, I wrote the following short a Prayer of Examen. You’ll recognize these to be additional stanzas that develop David’s “search me O God” prayer from Psalm 139:23-24.

 

Search me, God, know my heart; 
try me, know my thoughts. 
See if there is a wicked path in me; 
lead me along an ancient path. 
– Psalm 139 

Interrupt me, O God, and get my attention.
Nudge me, and tell me the truth.
Make certain I don’t miss the point
And encourage me to take it to heart.

Interview me, O God, and ask hard questions
Corner me and don’t let me off.
Challenge me if I seem vague or evasive
And bring every hidden thing to light.

Investigate me, O God, and expose my guilt
Bust me and I’ll quickly confess.
Insist I be completely honest
And the truth will set me free.

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