Moments: Prayer in the midst of the Australian fires

The Rev. Maren Tirabassi

14 January 2020

Moments: Prayer in the midst of the Australian fires

God, I come to the backyard to pray
holding handfuls of snow
in my bare hands,
as I learn these new words —
ember attacks.

I pray for people
across the world from me,
in New South Wales and Victoria,
where heat, high winds, drought,
and the warming of the earth,
are taking lives and burning homes,
bush, businesses, schools,
places of happiness.

I pray for families split
as they choose
between evacuation and staying
where no fire truck can come
if the wind changes,
and last-minute fleeing in a car
is the most dangerous of all.

I pray for residents and tourists
crowded on northbound boats
that escape to the sea,

and I surely pray
for those who try, against all odds,
to predict the paths,
who fight wildfire outbreaks,
who send in food and clothing,
who staff evacuation centers
and comfort children
that will be living with fear
for a long, long time.

Against the random danger
of ember attacks,
safety has a snowball’s chance,

but I hold this snow, this prayer
naming our cold and holy hope —
because the world cares.

©Maren Tirabassi
Image Matthew Abbott