We take so much for granted. We want things to go a certain way, our way: Forgive us our narrow-mindedness. Help us to see beyond our small spot on the planet, beyond our place in this moment of time. Move us out of our heads and into our hearts. Shake us loose from what we cling to that is false. Help us to ask, “Does this nourish?” “Do I really need this?” “Is it your will?” Transform our understanding. Make us instruments of your peace.
In this time of sheltering in place, we understand even more the sacredness of gathering, our need to gather – to share the joy of birth, and to be close and give comfort when laying someone to rest. We are horrified at the disrespect and senseless acts that have occurred in Afghanistan. We mourn the attack on the maternity ward at Doctors Without Borders’ Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital in Kabul, where two newborns and 11 others were killed. We grieve for the 24 people killed and 68 injured during an explosion at a funeral in Jalalabad province. We pray for the injured, the terrorized evacuees and witnesses, and the frontline personnel and families. We lay our hearts before you in a moment of silence… Lord, have mercy.
Protect the hospitals, public health workers, and humanitarian organizations that work with so little and do so much, especially in this Covid-19 pandemic. Amplify their efforts. Cause our leaders to awaken to right and swift action at the incredible loss of health care workers around the world to the virus. May they be moved to action by photos such as the one taken by Eraldo Peres on May 12, International Nurses Day, in Brasilia, Brazil. That photo, distributed by the Associated Press, pictures nurses at dusk protesting the deaths of their colleagues by lying down, arms outstretched on the earth, each holding a paper with the name of a colleague and a candle resting on their chest. Lord, in your compassion, strengthen us to do good and speak out at injustice.
Help us to hear your call in the cries of all your people. Help us to listen for your call in those who can hardly speak and who suffer silently.
- Comfort the many who are isolated at home, quarantined in ICU’s, and families who do not get to say “good bye,” “I love you” one last time.
- Sustain those who are depressed and soothe those who are so very anxious.
Oh God, you embrace all regret and deep remorse. You have room for everyone. What a mighty comfort. Help us likewise to show mercy and tender kindnesses, as we sort out loss upon loss around the world.
We groan at the wanton criminal neglect and malpractice of a South Korean multinational chemical factory and the layers of Indian board, state and central environmental authorities that led to the deaths of 12, including two children, and the poisoning over 1,000 as polystyrene gas entered the streets and homes of Visakhapatnam, India. We are reminded of the Bhopal, India, methyl isocyanate gas industrial disaster in 1984 at an insecticide plant that killed over 15,000, and pray for the contamination that still exists more than 35 years later, continuing to cause anguish, birth defects, and mental retardation.
We are angered at the easing of U.S. environmental laws to allow industrial pollution that steals air and water; snuffs out lives; and kills and destroys habitat. Help us to shine light on these grievous imbalances of power. Lay bare the acts of greed and corruption. Shed your light on the false values of expediency for the sake of profit. We offer again a moment of silence… Lord, have mercy. Give us purpose and clarity, as we regain a sense of urgency for the stewardship of our planet your creation.
We turn in gratitude for so many caring people and organizations, like the Washington Potato Growers Association (U.S.), which gave away over a million pounds of potatoes this week. Help us to understand generosity as a powerful and beautiful act, an act that acknowledges the other, the food insecure, the hungry, and those choosing between rent and groceries. As countries around the world take the risk of reopening businesses and other non-essential operations after Covid-19 shut-downs and stay-at-home orders, support the small business owners, the workers who are at risk, and the still unemployed. Give us patience and unity of purpose.
Help us in these turbulent times to understand the stability of our faith, hope and love: Faith with action, hope in the knowledge of your enduring love, and love itself that has conquered sin and death.
May we live inside the words of Paul in his letter to the Romans 8:37-39. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”