May 26, 2020

Benediction in a Time of Pandemic

Here’s a lovely benediction from Rev. Nora Vedress, Pastor at Calvary United Church in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada.
So now we leave this space of worship
And while so much of the road ahead is uncertain,
the path constantly changing,
we know some things that are as solid and sure
as the ground beneath our feet,
and the sky above our heads.

We know God is love.
We know Christ’s light endures.

We know the Holy Spirit this there,
found in the space between all things,
closer to us than our next breath,
binding us to each other,
until we meet we again,

Go in peace.

~ submitted by Rev. Nora Vedress, Calvary United Church in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada.

A Pandemic Pastoral Prayer

Here is a pastoral prayer for the season in which we find ourselves. It was submitted by Reverend Brenda Torrie, First United Methodist Church in Newcastle, Wyoming.

Caring for Our Neighbors: A Pandemic Pastoral Prayer

In these days of knowing, not knowing,
We, like the buds on the trees,
Are eager to burst forth into the world.
Hold us gently in place
Until we are certain in the ways of loving our neighbor.

Let us not toss ourselves and neighbor into thoughtless harm.
Let us recall that all life is sacred in your eyes,
not only that of the unborn child,
but also those with lines of life lived etched upon their hands and faces,
and including those whose immune systems are compromised.
These, too, are your beloved, whose care we are blessed to bear.

And we seek blessing upon those
who have answered a call to care for us
in our times of physical healing,
no matter our opinion, our ideology, our hardship, Lord.
These, we hold in our care as neighbors.

Help us to hear that caring for one another
is your command on our lives.
Open our ears to hear the tragedy in this time of coronavirus,
and not only our own anxiety and grief
that may come on blustering words and tired rhetoric.
Instead, let us think on how we will make the world a better place.

Instead, let us think on what kindness, however small,
we might offer someone.

Instead, let us remember that our life is not our own,
but belongs to you.

Instead, let us dream how we might enter our communities
to be a beacon of hope for those living in disorder
to come alongside them while they find order;
alongside them while they reorder their lives.

Help us always, Lord, to remember our promise to you
that we will care for our neighbor as ourselves. Amen. 

~ submitted by Reverend Brenda Torrie, First United Methodist Church in Newcastle, Wyoming

May 15, 2020

A Blessing for Face Masks

Here is a beautiful blessing for those who create, fund, share and wear facemasks during the COVID-19 Pandemic. It was written by Rev. Donna Vuilleumier, Pastor at Smith Memorial Church, UCC in Hillsboro, NH.

She writes, “We have some women in the community who have been making face masks and ear savers and sending them around the country, as well across the front steps of our church for people to help themselves. This is not a unique situation as this mask-making ministry is everywhere.”

A Blessing for Face Masks

Blessed are those who give the gift of their time and their talent
            to create face masks for others,
            for their community, for strangers,
            for they shall help to save the lives of many people.

Blessed are those who make masks for others to wear
            so that together we may protect others,
            especially the most vulnerable
            who at another time had protected us
            when they worked as first responders,
            served in the military,
            or taught us the school lessons of our childhood,
            for they shall truly know the value of each human life.

Blessed are those who work tirelessly to fill bins in the market
            or the clothesline across the front door of the church
            with masks of all sizes and types,
            for they shall know that this is grace, compassion,
            and love of neighbor.

Blessed are the mask makers
            who send face masks to those who may be forgotten,
            to the agencies that support the homeless,
            nursing home staff and residents,
            the mentally ill,
            the prisoner,
            the tenderest among us,
            for they shall have respected and remembered the least of these.

Blessed are those who crochet ear savers
            and hunt down the buttons
            that hook on to the face masks for comfort
            for those who wear them for endless hours,
            for they shall see the face of God
            in each caregiver who wears one.

Blessed are those who give out of their own money
            for supplies and postage for face masks and ear savers
            because others’ lives and comfort are more important
            than their personal checking account,
            for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who wear face masks
            to show their care for others,
            who know that they can be passing on the virus
            that moves as a stealth,
            infecting others days before their own symptoms emerge
            for they shall be for they shall be called children of God.

O Holy One.
            Bless the mask makers, those who create –
            from cloth, flannel, elastic, wire, yarn and buttons –
            the barriers that allow us to be out among others
            yet keep them safe from what we might be silently harboring.

            Bless the mask wearers
            that we may see them as a sign of care and concern for others;
            that we may see your face beneath each mask.

            Bless us all
            that we may see that by covering our noses and mouths
            we have opened our eyes and our hearts to one another. Amen.

~ submitted by Rev. Donna Vuilleumier, Pastor at Smith Memorial Church, UCC in Hillsboro, NH.