In name of the Holy Spirit of grace,
In name of the Father of the City of Peace,
In name of Jesus who takes death off us,
Oh, in name of the Three who shield us in every need,
If well you have found us tonight,
Seven times better may you leave us without harm,
O bright white Moon of the seasons. – Scottish Prayer
We watch otherworldly videos of fire coming out of swirling water as a pipeline leaks gas in the Gulf of Mexico at an oil field near the Ku-Maloob-Zoop platform. We watch parts of a mountain in Cyprus engulfed with smoke and flames. Lives, forests, homes, villages and farmland have succumbed to wildfires – the worst recorded in the island’s history. Help from Italy, U.K., Israel and Greece arrives as concerns spread for the Machairas National Forest Park, which is also in harm’s way. “Shield us in every need” and calamity.
The ban by Turkey on most U.K. plastic waste reminds us of our manifold social and economic interconnectivity, a shared trust we must daily manage. We buy and dispose of items and their packaging, never bothering to understand where it ends up or if it is recycled. “Seven times better may” we leave a place we visit, vacation, travel across or live years upon.
We hear of lunar missions by China to understand the age of the moon, almost daily reports on exploration on Mars, and news of comets that come from a region known as the Ort Cloud. A probe is again being sent to Venus, where renewed interest in our sister planet generates questions. Earth our good house sits in your vast design. The marvelous human mind wonders, imagines, tests and explores. Our achievements startle us. A newly identified comet, C/2014 UN271, named after astronomers Bernardinelli and Bernstein, that has been sailing in our solar system since the sun’s birth, will be studied for at least ten years as it approaches our star this time around. How can we not observe this celestial rhythm as your amazing grace? May it be so!
We share the shock and fears of the people of Haiti, after Wednesday’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse seems to have thrown an already turbulent nation into chaos, with a muddled line of succession, despite calls for calm by the country’s acting prime minister, Claude Joseph.
We continue to mourn since the collapse of the Champlain Towers South two weeks ago, with 109 people still unaccounted for; recovery efforts stutter with the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa in southern Florida, U.S. At a funeral Mass for building residents Marcus and Ana Guara and their daughters, Lucia 11 and Emma 4, a cousin said, “Who would have thought a few weeks ago that our community had so many ties to one little building?” Lord, in your compassion, hold fast the families who continue to await news of the missing. Tend to these souls and place your peace over this community of grief and all communities that experience calamity. We find your peace that passes all understanding as first responders and recovery workers report they are being handed notes made by children telling them they care about their work and to say “thank you.”
We mourn the death of a renowned U.S. physician researcher in kidney transplant immunology, Dr. Barbara Murphy, who thrilled: “For all the years that I’ve been in this profession, the interaction between a living donor and a recipient in the recovery room still makes me proud to be a physician.” (Credit…Roger Tully, via Mount Sinai Health System at her passing.)
We pray for the continued and speedy recovery of Pope Francis, who underwent planned colon surgery this week.
We study the spike proteins of the SarsCoV2 virus, and sigh many times over that COVID19 rates are continuing to trend downward in many countries – yet the ERs and ICUs are filling both with new Covid-19 cases, and with the many with chronic illnesses now in crisis because they were unable to safely receive adequate health care during the worst of the pandemic.
Protect and guide the minds and hearts and hands of those who care for each and all, from the receptionist in a clinic, to nurses, housekeepers to lab technicians, security guards, administrators, supply clerks, janitorial staff, and all of the essential and necessary workers that commit to their daily work. Be with our nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists, and the hospitals that find themselves reopening COVID19 wards in 2021. Be with Iran whose president fears there will be a 5th surge. Awaken places where the vaccine uptake is dangerously low and where the variants may flourish prolonging this pandemic. Lord have mercy.
A ransomware against U.S. tech provider Kaseya reverberated around the world, resulting in temporary closure of all 800 Sweden’s Coop Grocery stores, because they were unable to operate their cash registers. Swedish railways services and a pharmacy chain also suffered disruption from the suspected Russian attack. Help us, Lord, as increasingly severe cyber-attacks unsettle our notions of innocence and vulnerability.
We hear of uncapped methane wells that pepper places like Montana, U.S., adding to our CO2 burden, after having been abandoned for decades by bankrupt oil companies and left to governments to address. We are grateful for Well Done, a non-profit that seals the wells with cement, and its founder Curtis Shuck, who said, “Whether you are a climate denier or a climate advocate, when you look at what I saw that first day, you can’t tell me that’s OK. There is no universe where leaving something, behind like that is OK.” We are grateful for such “can do” stewardship.
Holy Spirit, Great Mystery, Comforter Jesus who lifts all burdens – protect us through ways known and seen in the news, and evermore so in the ways you guide and tend beyond our knowing and seeing. Keep our faith strong and our acts wise and compassionate.