Agape: March 17, 2020

Agape: The 2020 Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” -Isaiah 54:10

Almost 40 years ago, an earthquake below Mount St. Helens triggered the largest landslide in recorded history and a massive eruption that deposited ash over several U.S. states. The lateral blast removed 1,300 feet from the top of the volcano and triggered shockwaves and pyroclastic flows that choked the Toutle River, blanketed a large area with ash, and killed 57 people. I was born the day after the eruption, so I have a vial of the ash sitting on the bookcase a few feet of me that was given to me by my parents after they visited the area in 2005, and relatives in other parts of Washington saved newspapers from that week to give to my twin brother and me when we were older.

I always think of the eruption when I read passages like this about the face of the earth being physically altered because it has been described as cataclysmic. Part of the mountain literally departed, and the debris from the lahars choked the Columbia River and reduced the capacity of the Toutle River by 90%. Something that significant happened, and yet the more important thing is that God loves us and has compassion on us.

How amazing is that!

Gracious God, thank you for the assurance that parts of the earth could give way and yet your love for us surpasses the amazingness of that. Amen.
-Jen McCabe