Friday, August 03, 2007

Prayer for Travelers

I've been very out of the news for the past few days. I'm trying to finish up my final weeks at the office and finish them well; our church's VBS (which my husband is coordinating) runs next week; I've had to finish my fall course syllabus; and I'm working on a writing deadline. Those are just a few of the things that have kept me from the news, which I usually have to seek out, since we don't have television.

So I was appalled yesterday when I stumbled onto photographs of the terrible disaster in Minnesota -- the interstate bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis on Wednesday. I've spent a few minutes today reading stories and looking at photos, grieving for those who lost their lives and for their loved ones who will miss them. Today's news is somewhat encouraging in that there have not been as many confirmed casualties as originally feared, but even one casualty in an accident of this kind is devastating, and there have been several confirmed deaths so far. As always in this kind of situation, there are the heartbreaking stories of people still missing, and the poignant stories of people who were traveling late or who took an alternate route or other ordinary things that happened to bring them to that specific location at that specific moment in time.

I think this story hits especially close to home because we live very near to a city that's known, with some affection, as "the city of bridges." We've always heard that Pittsburgh has more bridges than any city in the world except for Venice, and I believe it. Despite a lot of gray weather due to living in a river valley, and far too much rust in the landscape, some of the skyscape is unusually beautiful here because of the many bridges that adorn this area. We travel over bridges frequently since we have to cross rivers to get places.

So this really does hit home. And it made me turn to the prayer for travelers in the Book of Common Prayer:

O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel (in particular those who travel over bridges); surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey's end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It's a good prayer, for actual travelers and for all of us who are traveling through, or wayfaring, through this life.


Erin said...

When my parents lived in Minnesota, they drove over that bridge a lot. Really shocking the way the whole thing just collapsed... They've been saying there are a couple bridges around here that are in a comparable state of disrepair; I imagine fixing some of these bridges is going to become a bigger priority now...

Beth said...

That must have felt so strange to your parents, knowing the bridge so well. What an awful tragedy this was.

I'm sure bridge repair will be on the mind of many city officials in many cities...