Hurricane A Go Go

For the last week or so, I was on vacation. I’ll be sharing pictures of my trip soon but I just wanted to write a quick comment about what’s coming up: Hurricane Irene. It seems I missed an earthquake (darn!) but I made it back in time for a hurricane. Hurray!

I actually am not terribly scared of hurricanes. Growing up in landlocked areas, hurricanes were never on my radar. Now, spending my adult life in New York City has made me more concerned with nor’easterns rather than hurricanes. But it seems like there’s a chance that the eye of the storm might head right over my apartment (though the tracking keeps changing – yesterday, it was heading west, now it’s heading east). At Chez Stynxno, we’re working on doing some minor preparations for the hurricane by visiting the grocery store, buying a flashlight, and making sure to get all our necessary internet time in before the storm hits. I don’t think the animals are really aware of what’s happening but I think they’ll be glad to be home when it hits. We’re making a big pot of chili and we’re opening up our home to any of our friends who are in the evacuation zone if the calls goes out to move out. Being in the heights means we’re on the high ground in Manhattan.

Since the storm is hitting on a Sunday, one thing that I’ve thought about is church services. There was some debate at my home congregation about whether to cancel services or not. The decision was to keep the services as scheduled. There are rumors that the MTA will shut down service (or the subway will be flooded) so there’s very little chance that I’ll be making it to church come Sunday but I’ve been thinking about the idea of having church with the knowledge that a storm is barreling down on you. Thanks to satellites, we have days of warning that a storm will hit. As much as I think it’s valuable to break bread with the Lord during the middle of a storm, I also wonder if it makes any sense to have services in the middle of a hurricane. If it is dangerous for the assembly to gather due to natural conditions (and the disruption will only be one day), should the assembly gather? I don’t think I have a theological answer for that at the moment (though I’ll probably come up with one) but I just hope that everyone in NYC takes this storm seriously and if it looks bad, stay inside. The church is an old building undergoing repair – there’s no need to dodge flying tree branches and trash to make it into a leaky building. Stay safe!

Update: My new seminary was scheduled to begin orientation this Sunday but just announced that Sunday programs have been canceled. They’re in an evacuation zone so that’s probably part of the reason. Let’s hope that the subway and the close aren’t too flooded come Monday morning.