The Atlantic hurricane season for 2017 is upon us, and the solar minimum has brought about some of the most destructive storms in recent memory. It started in eastern Texas and into Louisiana with Harvey. Millions of dollars will be needed for the cleanup efforts. Hurricane Irma has come from a punishing couple of days in the Caribbean Sea, and now she’s headed onto the Florida peninsula. On her heals, however, are two hurricanes. José is already considered a category 4 hurricane. Katia is a bit further to the southwest, and the author isn’t sure of her current status.
The author is a major language buff. His late nights are known to involve grammar and morphological research into heaven knows how many tongues. One of his recent musings found him in Puerto Rico’s Taíno language, wherein the translation of the Lord’s Prayer is well known. In Matthew 9:13 (ESV), Jesus prays:
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
In Taíno, evil is indicated as Urakangai, which relates to the spirit in their previous animistic religion which was thought to cause hurricanes.
But lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from hurricanes?
Old and New Testaments are full of storms and the deliverance therefrom, but this is a new slant on such deliverance narratives. For the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean region, the hurricane meant ultimate destruction. As we saw today from Hurricane Irma in Antigua and Barbuda, she flattened the already flat island, and she did away with much infrastructure.
The greatest adversary is blowing on us. it’s a million times stronger than the big bad wolf. It’s akin to Urakangai, the hurricane spirit. Satan wishes to steal, kill and destroy. But Satan doesn’t own the wind. He just gathers what God has already created, and he twists it into devilish forms so that it’s ready for his sordid ends.
Along with the people up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States, I pray with the Taínos against hurricanes and all storms, lest our little islands in God’s infinite sea of grace be put to naught.
Our infrastructure may be put to naught, but our faith in Jesus Christ, if it remain strong, will withstand until Urakangai is a joke of a far gone time.