Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, April 27, 2020

Fire Safety (Rev. Cindy Maybeck)


Our online service from this past Sunday at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church can be found here.
A transcript of the sermon and prayer is available here

Rev. Cindy Maybeck writes today’s post. Rev. Cindy is a great storyteller. She presents a weekend retreat about prayer and discernment at Bon Secours, in Marriottsville, MD, my favorite local retreat Center.

“What will you do if there is a fire in your house?” Miss Brady asked her class of third graders. We learned that hiding under the bed was the wrong answer. She taught us all about fire safety and assigned the homework of drawing a map of our house with a family plan about how we would escape a fire.

Here’s the problem. My bedroom was in the attic on the third floor. I determined my little brother could jump out of the window from his second-floor bedroom into bushes. He had already proved to be a pretty good jumper off high things like stone walls and garage roofs. I suspected he would be hurt but not killed; boxwood bushes would break his fall.

As for me, the only exit from a bedroom with flames leaping up the attic stairway was to fall three flights down to a paved driveway. My eight-year old head would be smushed for sure. I badgered my parents all evening. Should we construct some kind of ladder? Should we move my bedroom to the safety of the first floor? Should we put a giant trampoline in the driveway each night before I went to bed? I just couldn’t let it go.

Finally, after being told 17 times to go to bed; after being promised I would be safe, I would be rescued, I would be saved, I cried to my Dad – “but HOW? What will happen if there is a fire?” Dad brought me up to my bedroom, tucked me in and sat on the edge of the bed as I wept.

He calmly explained that after Steve and Mom jumped out of windows to safety, Dad would come upstairs to the attic. (I pictured him wearing a Superman cape and running up flaming stairs unscathed.) He would sit on my bed. (Just like he was in that moment.) And together we wait for the firefighter to come to the rescue. Together we would climb down the fire truck ladder. Together we would get to pet Sparky, the fire dog.

I took a deep shaky breath. I wiped my eyes. I leaned my head on his shoulder for a moment. That was the truth I needed to hear. More important than the specifics of a plan was the promise that I would not be alone while waiting to be saved.

Our news cycle spins with new information, updated precautions, images of pandemic and the destruction it will cause. But in the midst of your preparations, social distancing, or self-quarantine, remember the spiritual comfort of being held in safety and love.

Listen well, dear friends. You will not be forsaken, forgotten or forlorn. Arms of love will hold you through this crisis.

For some music: Fanny J. Crosby's hymn “Blessed Assurance.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, our God, for promising to walk with us, no matter what may come our way. Continue to guide us through our current situation, we pray. Amen.

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