By the Rev Liz Blythe
God of every moment and every situation,
We call upon you now to be with us.
We are facing a level of uncertainty
that few of us have experienced in our lives.
We lift up to you people and organisations
that continue to serve those in need in our world.
We thank you for those who serve
the most compromised of humanity on a daily basis.
We thank you especially for the witness of
Dash Club, Cross Reach, and The Families Together Project
We are grateful for their work
for the lives they are touching
and for the opportunity to help their work to continue.
We thank you for doctors, nurses, and medical staff
who, having sworn an oath to help,
are living by their word and their calling
at this difficult and even frightening time,
even knowing that they may get sick,
that their children may get sick
because of their call to help.
We thank you for grocery stores
large and small
and the people who work for them.
We are grateful that
our human fear of scarcity,
which is built on privilege
and has emptied store shelves for those who cannot hoard,
will not triumph.
We thank you for the suppliers who continue to produce goods
and for those who continue to move them by driving
from factories and storage facilities
to stores all over our country.
We thank you also for store clerks.
In order not to hoard food and goods,
we have to rely on the courage of store clerks
to continue to show up to work.
We thank you for them and their vital role in our lives and survival.
We also lift up to you all those who are struggling
with whether or not to self-isolate.
Help them to see that staying home
from work or school or whatever
with a fever or cough
is not weakness.
It is an act of compassion.
It is an act that says the greater good
is more important than our own self-interest.
Help us to be bold enough in our love for neighbour
to abide by any quarantines that may come to pass.
We know that wars continue,
and families continue to leave Syria and Yemen
That parents are facing the horrid choice
of whether to stay and endure bombings
or go and chance the Mediterranean Sea.
Even as anxiety is skyrocketing here about sickness,
our hearts break for them.
We ask that, with your Spirit,
world leaders might see fit to used this unprecedented time
as a time to step back and reassess
and gain some much needed perspective
Likewise we ask that you would open the eyes of world leaders
to the changed pollution maps emerging from China and Italy.
Help this time of isolation
to show us viable alternatives to the way we have been living
that will offer positive examples of ways
to live and work that are better for the environment.
We pray that these maps would convince doubters
that humans are impacting our climate
and the very world we live on
and convince them to change their stances and their ways.
Additionally, we ask that,
through the quarantines being set up around the world,
you would help individuals and families
to develop better practices for living.
Help to correct the work-life balance where it is out of whack.
Help people to take this time,
not as a punishment, but as an opportunity –
to reconnect with loved ones
to reach out to vulnerable friends, families, and neighbours
to write letters and read books and weed gardens.
Help us to be safe, but not idle
so that we would emerge from this time
with a new way of being that is better for each of us,
and better for our world.
Finally, we lift up to you the vulnerable.
We lift up to you those who are most likely
to have severe and difficult cases of this virus.
We also lift up to you the children who will not receive school meals
and the families who will struggle to pay rent and buy food.
We also lift up to you those countries
that are not yet impacted by the virus
we pray that their practices would keep them safe.
In particular we lift up to you those places in our world
where medical care is not as advanced or available as it is here,
and places where medicine is not free and accessible to all.
As we have prayed broadly for our world and for our community,
in silence we lift up to you the prayers of our own hearts.
For all these our prayers,
the ones spoken and unspoken
we lift them up to you
certain you listen and confident you care.
Now with that confidence,
we join our voices in solidarity with one another
and in communion with the cloud of witnesses
around the world and throughout time
as we pray the prayer that Jesus taught us, saying:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.