20th Century, Bridge, History, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, tornado, Weather

High Bridge Blown Down 1904

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August 20, 1904

“A tornado traveling through Waconia, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and Stillwater leaves fourteen people dead and causes property losses of $1.5 million. The same storm blows down the High Bridge in Saint Paul, where winds reach 110 miles per hour, the fastest recorded wind speed in the metropolitan area at the time. The storm also has the lowest measured barometric pressure (23 inches) of any tornado, according to Snowden Dwight Flora, author of Tornadoes of the United States.” * 

Every decision has a consequence. As the ancient prophet Hosea once said, ‘those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind’. But how did regular citizens of these cities ‘sow the wind’? Did they, or was this storm just a normal occurrence that is necessary to the health of the atmosphere and environment?

This I know of human nature, when tragedy strikes, many will attempt to deflect the awfulness of the event through blame. We don’t have the inner mechanisms to deal with great pain, and so we often try to externalize it. Psychologists call this process transference. 

Lord, what were the objects of transference in this event? Let me start with how we blame You, after all, this is an ‘act of God’. Will You forgive any residents of Waconia, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Stillwater who placed the blame for this event on You? Will You forgive any judgments made on Your character? Will You forgive those who viewed this storm as an offense against them in person and property, and in turn held a grudge against You? 

Lord, we blame others! For example, “The High Bridge wouldn’t fall if it was designed better? The engineers and architects are to blame!” For the folks of these cities that fall into this category; will You forgive them those judgments of others?

 Will You forgive our bifurcated motives? On one hand we love technology. We love what is new, innovative, and ground-breaking. Simultaneously, we cling to the familiar, and many of us have deep-rooted skepticism of new ideas. Will You forgive the judgments made of those who offer us new ideas? Will You forgive the wrath felt by those who dreamt, designed, labored, and finished this High Bridge? 

Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for this hardship? We place ourselves on trial in the courts of minds and give harsh sentences for imperfections. Will You forgive those who blamed themselves for lost crops, fallen barns, loss of horses and animals, and loss of human life?

Lord, You are just. You are truly the only right judge because You know our heart, our history, our thoughts, our motives, and our actions. Yet, You are merciful to us, and often reveal the fragility of our inner life and its immaturity in the most gentle and gracious way possible. 

You are a good dad. We do not criticize our toddlers when they make a bridge with blocks and it crashes. We praise them, and encourage their imaginations. Will You make us a people that loves valiant failures and Pyrrhic victories as much as You do?

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

 

 

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19th Century, Agriculture, farming, Food, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Natural Disaster, omnipresent history, Science

Rust Plagues Crops 1878

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1878

“Rust, a parasite growing on barberry bushes brought west by settlers, severely damages wheat crops. Later epidemics of wheat rust lead to the outlawing of barberry bushes in 1918.

Epidemics occur again in 1904 and 1916 before the state outlaws the culprit carriers. The problem is eradicated over the next decades through the efforts of “Barberry Bees,” organized to dig up bushes, “Rust Busters Clubs” in schools, and bounties paid for reporting barberry in the 1940s.” *

Some days it is burdensome to read chapters of history like the Rust Plague. It feels like human perception of reality, myself included of course, is a one-trick pony. We fail over and over to see cause and effect relationships though surrounded with personal and practical examples.
When confronted with the tragic, we react with externalizing our pain. “It must be someone else’s fault that I have this problem”, we say to ourselves. Moreover, You are a convenient target for our misuse or overuse of natural resources.
Creator of All Nature, this is the ray of light I see in this Rust Plague; eventually the curious among us found a relationship. We found that transporting plants, namely berberis vulgaris, from their origins resulted in creating an undesired effect when they reached our desired destinations.** We loved progress, but lacked the knowledge and wisdom to enact it in this case.

Lord, was there something to this parasite outbreak other than nature? I believe that You are far more merciful to us than our sins deserve, but simultaneously maintain justice and enact wise judgments. You remain in perfect balance; neither favoring grace or truth. Our separation from You and our fellow man has its consequences. I can think of several events that happened in this time frame that caused massive unrest:
the creation of the Federal Reserve -1913
the negation of the Nicaragua Canal
the first foray into US nation-building that created the nation of Panama
the opening of the Panama Canal – 1914
sinking of the Lusitania – May 7, 1915
Poncho Villa raids US – 1916
President Wilson commits our troops to WWI, in spite of his campaign promise; “He kept us out of the war.” – 1917
Wilson “14 Point of Peace” – 1918
and extensive upheavals between labor and the industrialists.
Lord Jesus, will You enter into this chapter of our history again? Will You, by Your kind Holy Spirit, point out offenses that we may have made towards You? Did we curse the ground, or more specifically the wheat crops of Minnesota? Were You just maturing us to trust You in difficult times? Was a disease necessary to place nature in proper balance?

Jesus, please forgive us any root judgments that contributed to the rust epidemic. Will You heal our land and our hearts, to receive You where our ancestors may have missed You? Will You make us capable of self-examination, observant of our surroundings, and shield us from the temptation to only look for external targets of our wrath and blame rather than responsibility, reason, and relationship?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

**https://www.ars.usda.gov/midwest-area/st-paul-mn/cereal-disease-lab/docs/barberry/barberry-situation-past-present-future/

 

 

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