In this week’s episode of our @St. C’s podcast, we’re offering a Service of Prayers for Healing from our Iona Abbey Worship Book. I invite all of you to join with us in prayer online where a .PDF of the prayers are also posted. While we may not be gathering in person yet, we are united in our Christian mission to shield and protect the most vulnerable ones among us.
As we all are watching the news from Points South and West, we are fervently praying for all who are hurting and fearful during this pandemic. We have much to give thanks for as well. We are fortunate here in Maine to enjoy the pastoral beauty of God’s creation each day and the love of our community. We hold in public trust the compassionate and careful guidance of all our elected and public health officials, along with clergy and medical professionals who are doing the best they can in difficult times. We pray especially for the exhausted healthcare workers and families who are directly affected by this pandemic.
As we continue to pray for healing all across our nation and in our own communities, we can do so with our eyes wide open. In the Episcopal and Anglican tradition, we hold scripture, tradition, and reason in balance. We respect the research and recommendations of medical and public health officials. We can strengthen our long tradition of saying our daily prayers at home and by reading scripture daily. You will find many podcast episodes and videos on our website which unite us in prayer.
I must also say this, with all the love I can muster. When we see that our Maine CDC infection numbers are low in Maine, we must stay the course and continue to guard the health of ourselves and our neighbors. All daily CDC statistics reflect a snapshot of infections that happened two to three weeks ago. Because this airborne virus spreads before people realize they are sick, it goes undetected until it’s too late to stop it. Due to the exponential growth of this stealthy virus, much can change very quickly, especially as we here on the Midcoast welcome and provide hospitality to so many visitors.
It remains imperative that we continue to wear our masks, maintain physical distances, avoid gathering in groups, and keep our hands clean. We do not do this out of fear, we do this in the sure and certain hope that all of us will make it through this pandemic alive and well. We long to be together, yet we would never want to inadvertently bring harm to our beloveds because we were impatient or willfully ignored the guidance of public health officials. We’ve done well so far and all is well. We must continue to do all we can to shield each other from this viral storm.
The embodiment of our love for Jesus is demonstrated by our care for each other in a myriad of ways, as we are called by the Holy Spirit. While it is tempting to let down our guard and falsely assume that this global pandemic has passed by us, it is courageous for us to stay the course and remain vigilant. We are called to continue our shared mission to stay connected yet also protect our most vulnerable neighbors from a highly-contagious airborne virus that isn’t taking the summer off.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)
We’re all in this together, in Christ+
For further learning, I recommend these videos:
Prof. Kimberly Prather, PhD, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry at UC San Diego explains airborne aerosol viruses.
The Genius of N-95 masks:
Stay Home from Church
Episcopal churches continue to adapt to Covid-19 surges.
Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are Confronting Coronavirus Cases.
Prayers and Resources during the Pandemic- Virginia Theological Seminary
A Prayer for Online Worship
Almighty God of the Cross and Loving God of Community, we are not in a church building today but Church is never canceled. We are not wise, and we may not always be kind. But we are the Body of Christ in your suffering world. We know that our vocation is to be the Light of this Christ whose Body we are. Give us courage to be the Church and to keep our minds on what matters—which is to keep loving the world which you have called good. Buildings crumble; the Church Year passes; but your Church endures from generation to generation. Make this for us a Feast Day of your Protection, your Plenty, your Purpose, your Plan and your Peace. All this we ask, as we pray in silence, with all the Saints and with each other. Amen.
“Love is the lighthouse that can show us the way to safe harbor.”
++Michael B. Curry