World Conference 2023

Facing the Storm

15 September 2023

By Susan Oxley of Seattle, Washington, North American Climate Justice Team

That Spirit is even now touching alive the souls of those who feel the passion of discipleship burning deeply within.

Doctrine and Covenants 162:3b

On the afternoon of July 14, 2023, I received a phone call from a dear friend in Kansas City.

“Susan, I’m frightened! There’s a terrible thunderstorm with lightning on every side. Rain is blowing horizontally, rattling the windows. I’m never afraid of storms—but today, I’m frightened!”

It was true. My friend was steady, stable, and had never been bothered by thunderstorms. But I trusted her instincts. This storm was different. While I tried to reassure her, I checked the internet for weather in Kansas City.

“You’re right to be concerned,” I told her. “There’s a severe storm warning in your area, with damaging winds and power outages expected. They are advising people to go to the lowest part of the house, in an interior room, and stay there.”

“I can get to the basement on the stair glide, but if the power goes out, I can’t get back up the stairs.” Her voice trembled.

We talked about options, and agreed the best place for her was her bedroom, away from outside walls. She quickly gathered water, food, a battery-powered lantern, and a book. As she got settled in her bedroom to wait out the storm, she became calmer. Her inner strength and resilience resurfaced. For the next few hours, she faced with equanimity the worst storm in decades to hit the Kansas City area.

Climate events around the world are increasing in frequency and severity. Friends and family members are being impacted. Panic and despair counteract our ability to cope. When a crisis threatens, we must face squarely whatever reality exists with steady, calm, practical adaptations, and faith in God. But even before a disaster strikes, we can prepare for climate emergencies, both physically and spiritually.

Now is the time to practice responsible choices: choose to cut back on any activity that adds carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Choose to prepare an emergency pack you can grab if you must face an emergency. Choose to set up contacts with friends and neighbors, to stay in touch. Choose actions that will contribute positively to God’s vision for a new creation. And choose hope and a firm commitment to God’s preferred future.

Prayer Phrase

“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Spiritual Practice

All That Lives

Take a walk and find a tree where you can sit (or imagine walking and sitting beneath a tree). Lean against the tree and feel the texture of the bark. Listen to the wind move through the leaves. Sit quietly and sense God’s presence flowing through the trees and all creation. Offer a prayer of gratitude for your connection to all that lives. Ask for grace to discern and carry out one small act of justice or healing that creates greater wholeness for the plants, animals, trees, waters, air, and land that are part of the community of creation.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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