Messages of Hope

Blessed are you – East Gippsland

Published / by Sandy

The fires in Australia have been devastating, and the fires in southern NSW and Gippsland are so shocking. This reflection was written by Jennie Gordon and may be a prompt for prayer and action.

blessed are you
who walk the scorching beaches
and shelter in the ocean
brushing burning embers
God beside you
blessed are you
who weep with grief and sorrow
and bear an ashen image
of a life of green and growing
God beside you
blessed are you
who face the firestorm’s fury
and volunteer for danger
companions in the battle
God beside you
blessed are you
who work to bring together
the rallied deeds of angels
and shape a place of respite
God beside you
blessed are you
who set a bowl of water
in the wilderness of burning
to care for little creatures
God beside you
blessed are you
who wait with calm and coping
engage in patient listening
approach with wine and welcome
cook for crowds of strangers
clothe and house your neighbours
pray for rest and rainfall
God beside you
01/01/2020     Jennie Gordon

Shirley Murray wrote this hymn on 12 February 2009, in response to the Victorian bushfire disaster and chose the theme and tune of “Now thank we all our God” because Martin Rinkart wrote his much-loved hymn after ministering to people dying from the plague in Saxony in the 17th century, and after conducting funerals for about 5000 plague victims, including his wife. Shirley gives free permission for its use throughout Australia.

Now thank we all our God
for lives beloved and cherished,
the brave who faced the flames,
the young and old who perished,
for those who fight the fires that sear our country’s soul,
for all who give relief to comfort and make whole.

No tears can stem this grief
through outback, town or city,
yet as disaster strikes,
we share a common pity,
where hearts and hands can help to build or recreate,
our nation stands as one
to mourn our people’s fate.

Our lives are held in trust,
O God of our believing,
and we who still are spared,
owe duty to the grieving,
for everyone is kin when all can feel this pain,
as families are gone
and shattered ones remain.

Now thank we all our God
for courage meeting danger,
when selfless spirits fight
for mate or helpless stranger,
when wind and bushfire flare and terror grips our faith,
compassion keeps us strong,
through tragedy and death.

TUNE: Nun Danket Alle Gott; words: © Shirley Erena Murray