This Week’s Prayer
We cannot merely pray to you, O God, to end war;
for we know that You have made the world in a way that people must find their own path to peace within themselves and with their neighbors.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end starvation;
for You have already given us the resources with which to feed the entire world, if we would only use them wisely.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to root out prejudice;
for You have already given us eyes with which to see the good in all people, if we would only use them rightly.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair;
for You have already given us the power to clear away slums and to give hope, if we would only use our power justly.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease;
for You have already given us great minds with which to search out cures and healing, if we would only use them constructively.
Therefore, we pray to You instead, O God, for strength, determination, and will power,
to do instead of just pray,
to become instead of merely to wish.
~ by Jack Riemer
A Pastoral Word
The 1918 influenza pandemic killed about 675,000 people in the United States. COVID-19 has killed about 575,000 people in the United States. Yes, we are approaching the number of influenza deaths, but keep in mind that there are over three times as many people living in the United States now than there were a century ago.
Each one of the 575,000 deaths in the USA is a tragedy. Each one in that total represents not only the individuals who died; each one represents families who are grieving and communities who have lost members. So, it seems a little callus to say, “We’re doing well, compared to the 1918 pandemic.” And still, we are.
There are lots of reasons that the death tolls in the USA are not higher. We know more about viruses now than we did 100 years ago. The viruses themselves are different. Medical interventions are much more effective than they were 100 years ago. And, thanks be to God, we now have vaccines that are proven effective in reducing the severity of infections should they occur and seem to be preventing infection in the first place.
I got the Pfizer vaccine. I didn’t pick it. It’s the one that was available, so I took it. The Pfizer vaccine requires two injections, and I got my second one last Wednesday. As I was sitting at the table, about to get poked, I asked the nurses working there if they were feeling victorious. I was. I actually started tearing up in that moment, both because I was grateful to get vaccinated against this deadly disease and because I felt like I am part of a community effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.
I really didn’t do much. I got vaccinated. Still, I felt victorious. And I continue to feel victorious.
If you’ve been vaccinated, thank you. If you haven’t been vaccinated and you’re eligible to do so, please, get vaccinated! If you have hesitancies about getting vaccinated and want to talk about it, reach out to me.
None of our children (under 16) are eligible – yet – and there are a handful of people how have medical conditions that makes any of the vaccines too risky. They need those of us who can be vaccinated to do so. When those of us who can get vaccinated do it, everybody wins. Together, we are victorious.
Working for a positive peace,