Lament for one of the worse climate disasters in history

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Lament for Lives Lost from Cyclone Idai

Last week's Cyclone Idai, which devastated southern Africa, has been characterized as one of the worst climate-related events ever on record. The official death toll in South Africa from the floods has reached 761, with over 100,000 displaced. The floods in Mozambique cover more ground than New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Boston combined.  Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world, and this disaster exemplifies the extreme injustice of climate change--namely that those who suffer the most severe consequences are often those who have done the least to contribute to the problem.

Hundreds of bodies have been reported lying along a single road as the floods recede. In the days following Idai, Mozambique experienced nearly a year’s worth of rainfall. It is a testament to the dramatic increase in intensity and frequency of extreme weather events correlated directly with human-induced climate change.

Closer to home, the "bomb cyclone" that swept through the Midwest last week, particularly in Nebraska, has been reported to have killed three people and left $1 billion in flood damages.

Lent is a time for lament. Today, we come before the Lord and lament the hundreds of precious lives lost, and tens of thousands more displaced in cyclones and climate disasters all over the world.

By: Melody Zhang, Climate Justice Campaign Coordinator, Sojourners


Lord of Heaven and of Earth,

We come before you in a heart of sorrow and remembrance of the 764 lives lost, and thousands more upended, by the effects of the storms last week exacerbated by climate change. Lord, we repent that we have sinned and done wrong, turning away from your commandments (Daniel 9:5) to protect and watch over what you have bestowed on us. Lord, may you bring the nations to repentance in the wake of this horrible tragedy.

We confess our own complicity in perpetuating the climate crisis, in our lifestyle choices, in times we have remained silent, in failing to love neighbor as self. We confess on behalf of our communities the great injustices ravaged upon your beloved people through Cyclone Idai and the Midwest floods. Healer God, may the presence of your Spirit be upon our sisters and brothers in Mozambique, in Malawi, in Zimbabwe, in Nebraska. Please bring them comfort, tangible resources, and resilience for the recovery ahead.

We pray in Your gracious name,

Amen.