These days we are faced with a changed world. Our lives have been turned upside down by concern over and fear of the virus and by the institutional responses to the pandemic that have led so many to stay safe in their homes, stay away from work, and otherwise live their lives in a mostly solitary and isolated manner. It is anything but normal.
Each of the forms of intercession described above fit very well in our prayers these days. We are frustrated. We are unsure. We want to do our part but there is quite a bit of confusion even about what that is.
Just like last week, just like most weeks, we have been given a set of lectionary readings that guide us both in our prayers and in our lives. If we take a moment and read the lessons we see that there are tips and clues and straightforward directions on what to do in times of trouble. In our collect we pray, "Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise," suggesting we should
look to God's will more than our own, and trust in God's plan. In the Ezekiel reading about the Valley of the Dry Bones we come to understand that God can revive a people who lost their way, even those whose bodies were reduced to broken skeletons. Our psalm reinforces this notion, declaring, "I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope." Our Gospel reading is the raising of Lazarus. We observe the necessity of faith if we want to enjoy the active engagement of God in our lives, our troubles and our dreams.
Our reading from the Letter to the Romans attests, "...to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace." And that is our heart's desire as we try to find new ways to love God and our neighbor in these awkward and difficult and changing times.