This image from the New York Times captures the widespread funnel cloud that moved through downtown Tuscaloosa at rush hour yesterday. The death toll across Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi is climbing. At last count, 200 people were dead from the storm. I was home watching the Weather Channel at 6:30 last night, and saw the tornado rushing over the northern section of Birmingham. It was surreal and chilling all at once. And found myself launched into the simplest of instant prayers: "O God! Help them!" And I thought of one of my friends on a clergy retreat somewhere to the north of Birmingham in a small town located in the red zone on the weather radar. I've heard from her and she is safe. But many others are now picking up the pieces after this devasting storm. Prayers ascending for all those affected, and for the repose of the souls killed by this storm.