I close with a poem by Lynn Ungar, a minister in San Francisco, and a prayer by my colleague, Sam Wells, vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London.
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
--Lynn Ungar 03.11.20
O God of healing and hope,
in Jesus you meet us in our places of pain and fear.
Look with mercy on those who have contracted the new virus,
on any who are vulnerable, and on all who feel in danger.
Through this time of global concern,
by your Holy Spirit bring out the best not the worst in us.
Make us more aware of our interdependence on each other,
and of the strength that comes from being one body in you.
Through Christ our wounded healer. Amen.