A pandemic is the time the world discovers who its neighbour really is - when we begin to embrace the concerns of others who are suffering with Coronavirus, as well as deal with our own fears and anxieties. When we reach out to those whose need is greater than ours, the elderly and vulnerable, and do all that we can to become 'community', then we are being true followers of Christ.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second (Commandment) is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30,31)
For all whose day starts with anxiety,
as they leave the security of home
worrying about the risk of infection;
particularly those whose health
or age classifies them as vulnerable.
Loving God, be close, keep them safe,
along with all whose tasks today
includes the care of frail and elderly.
And for all of us, grant wisdom
to make sensible choices, not just
for ourselves, but for everybody.
We are beginning to learn
that this is a fragile world
you’ve placed into our care.
But there are times, Lord,
when we are reminded
of our human fragility,
needing your loving care
through times of anxiety
and illness. Touch us, Lord,
with healing hands and words,
that we might walk together
through this temporary darkness
and into your glorious light.
Gracious God, let us never forget,
as daily life becomes more difficult
and restrictions cause annoyance,
that there are many for whom
this has been normality for years;
affected by long-term drought
or destructive storms; struggling
in poverty, or through violence
forced to adopt the life of refugee.
May we remember to be thankful
for what we have, and work together
selflessly for all who need our help.
Give wisdom, Lord, to all in authority,
not only leaders of nations but local
communities, that actions and words
are prompted by the needs of others,
not personal gain. That all might ask
the question, ‘Who is my neighbour?’
and, as if seeing through your eyes,
want nothing but the best for them.
Loving God, what we desire is this;
that people see not us, but through
our smile, greeting, helping hand
or helpful word, your love reach out
and touch, maybe at a time of need.
Keep us focussed through this day
on being your servants in this place,
or wherever you might take us,
and may your name be glorified.
Bless the good neighbours, Lord,
who call to check that all is well,
with those unable to get out,
and whose gentle act of service
brings a ray of light into a day
that would otherwise be cheerless.
Bless them, and all who likewise
give of their time for others
in following your good example,
that this might become a better
and more caring world in which to live.
Help us to put aside
about other people,
because that alters
and simply accept
that they, like us,
are precious in your eyes.
Bless the givers,
for those in need
a little time,
the gift of love.
In the act of giving
may both be blessed.
Bless all who work in stressful situations;
healthcare, teaching, law enforcement,
social services and other occupations
where patience, love and perseverance
can wear thin, and daily stress levels rise.
Keep them safe and keep them well,
equipped to follow their vocation
through the most difficult of times.
And at the end of their day, grant rest.
We pray for our communities -
that snapshot of humanity
with all ages, backgrounds,
education, employment status,
politics and religious viewpoint
who are our neighbours
in the streets where we live.
We pray for all of them;
not only those we know by name
and chat to through the day,
but also less familiar faces
about whom we know so little
and pass by with just a smile.
All in need of your love at this time.
Bless their homes and families,
and let your love and peace
so shine within this community
that smiles turn to conversations,
and strangers become friends.
We pray this through Jesus Christ,
the Prince of Peace. Amen
In the darker moments,
when clouds gather
and the heaviness we feel
remind us of your love,
carrying the weight
of so much in that cross,
embracing the world
with arms outstretched
that we might know
freedom from the chains
which now constrain us.
Bring us to your light,
release our burdens
and from despair bring hope.
Dear Lord, let us not forget
our neighbours at this time.
Not just those who live close
but in the wider community
who are elderly, vulnerable,
and very much isolated from
the world outside their door.
May they know they are loved
through our actions and care,
and in their loneliness know
your presence, healing, and peace.
All I am, and all I have,
I offer, Lord, to you.
I offer you these hands,
that you might use them
in and through my daily work.
I offer you these feet,
that you might lead them
to someone who needs my help.
I offer you these shoulders
if you should them
to help lighten another’s load.
I offer you this voice
that you might use it
to speak up for those in need.
All I am, and all I have,
I offer, Lord, to you.