Pray For Houston

Pastor's poem for Houston in wake of Hurricane Harvey is a social media sensation

Pastor's poem for Houston in wake of Harvey is social media sensation

welcome to Houston postcard with skyline
"130 mile an hour winds and 9 trillion gallons of rain are no match for a city of such life and diversity.You can fill up our bayou but you will never rain on our parade."
 
TempleInstitute.org

A poem penned by a South Carolina pastor with Houston ties has become a social media sensation and a comfort to a growing number of Houstonians. Jeremy Rutledge quietly posted the poem on his Facebook page Sunday after speaking with relatives affected by the widespread flooding in the Memorial area.

Since then it has gotten thousands of likes and the number is growing as the poem is being passed around residents of the Bayou City.

"I was surprised how many people thought what I wrote was a prayer. It wasn't a prayer — it was a poem to a place and people I love," Rutledge wrote on Facebook. "My real prayer is the donation I made this morning. I invite you to do the same."

He linked to a Vox story titled, "Hurricane Harvey: where you can donate to help with disaster relief and recovery."

Rutledge previously lived in Houston, where he served as minister for Covenant Baptist Church, so his references ring true. He encourages people to "pray like Beyoncé when she was at HSPVA or Billy and Dusty shooting pool at Rudyard's." He makes references soup at Spanish Flower and pho at Mai's, mutton bustin' at the rodeo, runners at Memorial Park, the Rothko Chapel, and the Astrodome.

"If you want to pray for Houston you have to pray without pretense. This ain't Dallas. And in a neighborly way as friends come out to check on each other in the rain and those who are far away watch screens and wipe our eyes," he writes.

"130 mile an hour winds and 9 trillion gallons of rain are no match for a city of such life and diversity," he concludes. "You can fill up our bayou but you will never rain on our parade."

Here's the full poem, "If You Want to Pray for Houston." Feel free to pass it on:

if you want
to pray for Houston
you have to pray
in her way

pray like Beyoncé
when she was
at HSPVA
or Billy and Dusty
shooting pool
at Rudyard's

pray like you're
sitting over soup
at Spanish Flowers
or pho at Mai's
steaming your glasses

pray like the kids
playing soccer
on the east side
or mutton busting
at the livestock show

pray like the runners
in Memorial Park
lacing them up
or the researchers
in the medical center
looking into microscopes

if you want
to pray for Houston
you have to pray
as quietly as
the Rothko Chapel
or Houston Zen Center

and you have to pray
as loudly as
the old scoreboard
at the Astrodome
after a José Cruz
home run

you have to pray
sitting under
a live oak tree
or standing next to
an azalea bloom
while your skin
clams in the heat

if you want to pray
for Houston
you have to pray
without pretense
this ain't Dallas
and in a neighborly way
as friends come out
to check on each other
in the rain
and those
who are far away
watch screens
and wipe our eyes

if you want to pray
for Houston
raise a bottle of Shiner
to the gray sky
and say that 130 mile an hour winds
and 9 trillion gallons of rain
are no match
for a city of such life
and diversity

you can fill up our bayou
but you will never rain
on our parade