Faith in a Time of Pandemic – You can pray!

Faith in a Time of Pandemic – You can pray! March 20, 2020

Pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17)

One of the great social activists of our time, Dorothy Day, was sidelined in her mid-seventies as a result of serious illnesses. The founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, along with Peter Maurin, however, was not daunted. She asserted that now her calling was to pray rather than picket! She could still pray for justice and social transformation even though she was confined to her home. She could even protest in her prayers!

Many of us feel like Dorothy Day. We are used to going where we want to and when we want to. We are used to socializing and to involving ourselves in social outreach programs and volunteering in our communities. Many of these opportunities have been taken away from us as agencies are closing and as we are choosing rightly to practice social distancing, sequestering ourselves at home. It’s easy to feel discouraged and depressed at our inability to reach out to others. Yet, as Dorothy Day says: we can pray!

Prayer connects us with God and with others. Prayer joins us with all creation. When we pray, we are never alone – we have God, each other, and our relationships with friends and strangers. Prayer liberates us from isolation spiritually even when we must isolate physically!

In these days of Coronavirus, I invite you to reach out in prayer. If you are part of a congregation, I invite you to pray as you go through your church directory. Pray for loved ones, friends, persons in need, and our nation’s leaders. Each morning – practicing safe distancing – I walk on Craigville Beach here on Cape Cod. Often, I am the only one. At a certain point of my walk, I see the steeple of our congregation – South Congregational Church – and as I gaze at the steeple, I pray for everyone in our congregation.

Take time to pray. It need not be fancy. It is said that courage is fear that has said its prayers, and we need courage now – to make the right decisions, to be brave, to reach out, to be kind. You can also pray for God to show you the way forward.

Our prayers may play a role in protecting us, our loved ones, and the planet. This isn’t magic, nor some form of miracle. When we pray, we create fields of force that bring healing and hope to the world. The add to the wellbeing of others in the midst of the other factors that shape their lives. Our prayers may even help God be more present in the world.
Thank you, God, for the gift of prayer. Help me to reach out in love, in prayer, and kindness. Amen.

Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over 50 books including “Finding God in Suffering: A Journey with Job,” “Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God,” and “Ruth and Esther: Women of Agency and Adventure.”

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