Faith in a Time of Pandemic: I Thank You God for Waking Me Up Today

Faith in a Time of Pandemic: I Thank You God for Waking Me Up Today March 28, 2020

Give thanks in all circumstances. (I Corinthians 5:18)

In many African American churches, people preface their prayers with the affirmation, “I thank you God for waking me up this morning.” My variation on this is my affirmation of Psalm 118:24 when I awaken, “This is the day that God has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.” In both cases, we give thanks for the sheer fact of living. We woke this morning and we will have a day filled with challenge and possibility, and God is with us through it all!

We can’t deny the challenges we face as a nation and a planet. We are concerned about COVID-19 and out of our concern we can act accordingly. Sheltering in place and safe physical distancing are a must. We also have the more long-term concerns of climate change, which quietly changes our lives, though it seldom makes front page news.

The first African Americans who coined “I thank God for waking me up this morning, you didn’t have to,” may have been slaves, living under intolerable conditions, and often treated as without value except as chattel for the master. Yet, they realized that life itself was a gift. And you could have a free spirit regardless of your external circumstances.

So, let us give thanks for the gift of life. As long as we have breath, let us praise God and reach out to our neighbor. Let us do all we can to be on the side of life and love.
I thank you God for waking me up this morning. This is your day, and I am grateful to share in it.

Guide my steps and my words that I might live gracefully and lovingly today and all the days of my life. Amen.
Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over fifty books, including FAITH IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC, PIGLET’S PROCESS: PROCESS THEOLOGY FOR ALL GOD’S CHILDREN, and FINDING GOD IN SUFFERING: A JOURNEY WITH JOB.

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