Friday, October 18, 2013

From Australia......devastating bushfires - and it's only the start of spring

Devastating fires in New South Wales, Australia - hundreds of homes destroyed

The Sydney skyline blanketed by smoke from the fires
Hundreds of homes may have been lost as New South Wales, Australia, suffered one of its worst bushfire days in recent memory. Intense fires yesterday were fanned by ferocious wind conditions and high temperatures, darkening Sydney's skies with smoke and ash. Temperatures hit the mid-30s and wind gusts reached 90kph earlier today, with no respite expected in conditions. Thousands of New South Wales residents had to be  evacuated as emergency warnings were put in place for bushfires burning out of control near Lithgow and the Blue Mountains, Muswellbrook, Newcastle and Wyong. There are scenes of "utter devastation" as dozens of bushfires continue to burn out of control across the state. This morning (Friday) 100 fires are still burning, more than 30 of them out of control.

This reflection from Rev Denise Savage (Deacon, Uniting Church in Australia)
As I go to close my eyes tonight, I am conscious of many who will not have their bed to sleep in, children without parents and a safe place to call home. Firefighters on the east coast, families whose life is held in ashes. I am conscious of families fleeing to find a safer place, and families in other countries who have experienced natural disaster without adequate resources for quick recovery. May God hold each one who tonight won't have their bed to sleep in. . . .

A prayer in time of Bushfire (slighted edited, Anglican Church of Australia's A Prayer Book for Australia)
All things look to you, O Lord,
to give them their food in due season:
look in mercy on your people,
and hear our prayer for those whose lives and possessions are threatened by fire.
Give protection and wisdom to fire fighters and other emergency service personnel.
Encourage our generosity to those who suffer loss.
In your mercy restore your creation and heal our land.
So guide and bless your people,
that we may enjoy the fruits of the earth
and give you thanks with grateful hearts,
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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