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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

Pray The Siren

By Patti Gilman

Settling down in a familiar pew at Grace on Sunday morning, is a release of tension, a welcome and familiar exhalation. Out goes the world and in comes a homecoming. I can almost feel the relief of my responsibilities rolling off my shoulders and the soft endearing embrace of the Holy Spirit taking my hand. This is a time to listen and to learn, to tune into wisdom and to discern and try to make sense of the experiences, both joyous and bewildering which have led us around by the nose for the past weeks, maybe months, who knows how long. Anyway, our Lord is listening and it is time to pay attention to his presence and his love and direction for us.

Among the many blessings flowing from Grace Church is fellowship and the opportunities to join together, learning, worshipping, praying with others who share the hunger to know more, and to do more and to be disciples of Christ. One such group within our fold is the Order of the Daughters of the King, a group of women who meet together to discern what Christ would have each of us do to be faithful to him and to extend His Kingdom here on earth. We have heard clearly that we are His sheep, and each of us are faithful to that in our diverse paths. Prayer is central and we take seriously our vow to pray daily for our neighbors and those in need.

Grace is a praying church. How often that has been said and how true it is. Entering the sanctuary, one can feel the prayers of generations of devout, faithful Christians, as well as lost souls who wander inside to find healing for suffering of every kind, people who are desperate for answers find comfort here. The church offers healing balm to our community, and implicitly, all are welcome.

Prayer. Is central to Grace Church and her history is rich with gifted pastors and parishioners who knew well the power of prayer, and of the riches that dynamic dialogue with our Lord bring. These leaders sought to stay in God's will by listening and hearing His word. Knowing a few extraordinary people who taught congregations to pray effectively and without ceasing has been a gift to us all. Imagine my delight when I saw last Sunday's bulletin the 'Pray The Siren' notice and listened to Fr. Jonathan expound on spreading the suggestion that at the piercing shriek of a sire we should pray for the victims and the responders with this simple prayer:

"Dear Heavenly Father please protect those responding and those they are responding

to. In Christ's name Amen."

During a Daughter of the King meeting, Ruth Kraan, excitedly told our fellowship of her idea to approach clergy with the suggestion that upon hearing a siren we might respond by each lofting a prayer to an always available God to be with the victims involved and also to enable the responding EMT's or fireman or officers to be up to their tasks in every way. Well, Ruth and Fr. Jonathan are spreading the word, and the next time you hear a siren you know who to tell! He is always listening.

As a post script to this siren story I can remember Fr. Al Durrance stopping mid-sentence in one of his sermons and silently standing and looking at the stained glass window listening to a siren screeching it's way west on Silver Springs Boulevard, crescendoing as it passed the church and fading into distance. This took some time and when silence returned to the sanctuary, He looked at us and said "Always pray for the suffering, and for those who are sent to help. I always send an arrow prayer, and you should too." So you see, what goes around comes around, and you can bank on it when you hear it at Grace Church.

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