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 3/11/20
I have a practice of printing poems and hanging them in places where I can turn to them often. At particularly challenging times, I have even placed them on my bedside table. Poetry is a sacred art and has had as much influence in my spiritual life as Holy Scripture. During these next few weeks, I invite you to make some time to explore the art of poetry and maybe write some poems yourself. If you would like to share your writing, I would love to hear from you. Some of you have reached out to me in recent days for prayers. Please continue to do so; this is one way that we may stay connected. You are all in my daily prayers, and although I will miss seeing your faces on campus, I look forward to embarking on a different journey with you in the days to come.
Let us pray:
God of love and comfort, come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers, and medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Adapted from America Magazine