worship-resources

When I heard about Donald Trump testing positive for Covid-19 I confess that I did not known what to feel, I should have felt compassion and prayed that he remained well, for this is what love requires of us. Yet I did not feel that. I have a long way to go!

The lockdown has been extended in Caerphilly and continues across South Wales and now in North Wales. Slowly we all need to accept the restrictions on our lives whilst this pandemic continues, with patience, love and understanding and the sure and certain hope of God with us and that all things shall pass. I am reminded of the great invocation of Julian of Norwich: ‘All shall be well, all things shall be well, all manner of things shall be well’.

We witness tempers fraying in shops and in the streets, exasperation and frustration, anger and disappointment being expressed daily. Those who breach the rules are punished and are daily named and shamed on TV and in the papers. As dangerous as it undoubtedly was to travel the length of the country on a train, go into parliament to speak and then travelled back on the train with Covid-19, we must maintain our humanity in response and understand that if an MP has done this, then so have many others. There is a reason the virus took hold here in the valleys and the city, people spread the virus inadvertently and sometimes knowing they were unwell, people breach quarantine rules, don’t socially distance, refuse to wear masks, act dangerously in these times and put others and themselves at risk. We are all human, fear and need, isolation and loneliness are drivers in breaching the rules. People can’t afford to stay at home if to do so means the loss of their job, or no money and no food for their children. How are the bills to be paid? Some people have no one to help them and so need to go to the shops to buy essentials. Others are so lonely that walking around the town and having a cup of tea in the café is the only time they meet or see anyone. And let us not forget that any one of us could be walking around Covid positive and not even know it as the majority remain asymptomatic.

We need to be fully human in order to be fully alive. Let us console and understand, forgive and love. Let us have patience and be compassionate, keep safe and trust in the rules that help stop the spread of the virus. In response to anger let us show kindness, in response to hatred let us show love. What can we do to ensure people around us are not forced to breach the rules, to endanger themselves and others, in order to work, to pay the bills, to buy food, to break the loneliness and isolation that threaten to overwhelm them. Where there’s despair let us bring hope, where there is darkness let us bring light and where there is sadness let us bring love and joy. Judgement is God’s only.
St Francis also said ‘start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible’
So, my prayer is that Donald and Melania and all who have tested positive around them recover speedily and are restored to the fullness of health. May God work through them to keep others safe in America and across the world and may we all know and bring the love of God to all whom we meet and show compassion and understanding towards those find this time most difficult.

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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

In these difficult times we would do well to pin this prayer where we can see it daily, for it turns us outwards and upwards, away from our own needs, worries and cares, towards others and towards God. Our needs are truly met through meeting the needs of others, we are loved by loving others, consoled by consoling others, and understood through understanding others. It is through having compassion for others that we have compassion for ourselves. It is a deeply comforting prayer.

If we were to pray this prayer everyday our lives would be transformed. Of course, if we followed the way of Jesus our lives would be transformed. We are human and we have good days and bad days, days of self-giving and days of selfish living, days of hope and days of doubt, places within us kept locked away in fear and places within us given away for others. We love some people sometimes and not others at other times.

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