Where you have found meaning and support lately? Thanks to Vice-President Terri Moss for these pictures and quotes!




“I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Rom. 8:38,39)

“The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us.”  (Isa. 33:22)

“No power can withstand divine Love.”  Mary Baker Eddy 

“”In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as a ‘a very present help in trouble.’  Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.”  Mary Baker Eddy

“Unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Divine Love always has met, and always will meet, every human need.”  Mary Baker Eddy

“Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee.  Therefore despair not or murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou sleekest this guidance.”            Mary Baker Eddy

“The healing power is Truth and Love, and these do not fail in the greatest emergencies.”                   Mary Baker Eddy



Inspiring interfaith moments during the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has crossed borders and cultures indiscriminately, affecting people’s lives regardless of their race or religion. While the global crisis has caused much anxiety and suffering, it has also inspired moments of interfaith unity – with believers, ranging from world leaders to medical workers, connecting across religious divides in a sign of solidarity.

This interreligious engagement is more important than ever, said Secretary General of the Muslim World League Mohammad Al-Issa in an interview with Al-Monitor on Sunday, adding that the need for interfaith partnership will continue beyond the current crisis.

Here are five interreligious moments inspired in response to the COVID-19 outbreak:

Thirteen religious figures lead digital interfaith prayer session

On Wednesday, 13 prominent religious leaders from around the world held a virtual interfaith moment “for hope and solidarity,” organized by nongovernmental international organization Religions for Peace. Participants included the Muslim Grand Mufti of Uganda, a Catholic Archbishop in Nigeria, the Baha’i representative to the UN, as well as leaders from the Hindu, Zoroastrian, Jain, Jewish, and other traditions, who all spoke from their homes around the world for a one-hour spiritual session.

The session, broadcasted on Facebook, ended with a shared interfaith commitment that pledged both prayer and action in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.A virtual interfaith meeting held by Religions for Peace International. (Facebook)

A virtual interfaith meeting held by Religions for Peace International. (Facebook)

Jerusalem’s religious leaders unite to pray for the end of coronavirus

In the city of Jerusalem, Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders came together on Thursday to pray for the end to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Representatives of the Druze and Baha’i faiths were also present.

Catholic leader Father Francesco Patton told Vatican News the common prayer was important as it recognized the shared Abrahamic root between the three traditions and that “thanks to this same root we can express with faith and with confidence our prayer to God.”

Joint prayer between Jewish and Muslim paramedics goes viral

Just south of Jerusalem, two paramedics in the Israeli city of Beersheeba took a break on Tuesday during their shift. Both men used the time to pray next to each other: Avraham Mintz, a follower of Judaism, stood facing Jerusalem, while Zoher Abu Jama, a Muslim, knelt in the direction of Mecca.

A colleague took a photo of the joint prayer, which went viral on social media.

Twitter user Helen Ford Ward called the moment “a beacon of light during a human crisis,” in a tweet.

“A sight to behold in this catastrophic time,” user Mahir Abbas posted in a tweet.

Interreligious disinfection and food campaign in Pakistan

Muslim volunteers on Tuesday entered mosques, churches, and temples in the Pakistani provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to disinfect places of worship as a COVID-19 preventative measure, and then distributed food and necessities to Muslim and non-Muslims residents alike.

The initiative was led by political party Jamaat-e-Islami’s social welfare wing.

“Serving the mosques, churches, temples…is a practical step toward religious harmony,” the party’s information secretary Qaisar Sharif said in an interview with Arab News, adding that the volunteers helped seven churches, five temples and two gurdwaras – places of worships for the Sikh denomination.A volunteer disinfects the Hindu temple to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus, in Karachi, Pakistan on March 30, 2020. (AP)

A volunteer disinfects the Hindu temple to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus, in Karachi, Pakistan on March 30, 2020. (AP)

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Pope Francis discuss brotherhood in confronting COVID-19

In a telephone call on Sunday, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed cooperation amid the spread of the coronavirus with Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of more than a billion Catholics around the world.

The Crown Prince expressed his hope that Italy and the Vatican will overcome the crisis and stressed the support of the United Arab Emirates, according to the UAE’s state news agency WAM.

Both leaders called on “the spirit of brotherhood, harmony and initiative” to confront the global challenge of the coronavirus and talked about ways to adopt the principles of the landmark interfaith “Document on Human Fraternity,” signed by the pope and Egypt’s Grand Imam of al-Azhar Dr. Ahmad al-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi last year.Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) watches as Pope Francis (C) and Egypt's Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb sign documents during the Human Fraternity Meeting in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019. (AFP)

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) watches as Pope Francis (C) and Egypt’s Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb sign documents during the Human Fraternity Meeting in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019. (AFP)



Muslim and Jewish paramedics pause to pray together. One of many inspiring moments in the coronavirus crisis

Jewish paramedic Avraham Mintz faces Jerusalem, his prayer shawl hanging off his shoulders. Muslim paramedic Zoher Abu Jama kneels facing Mecca, his prayer rug unfurled before him. Jewish paramedic Avraham Mintz faces Jerusalem, his prayer shawl hanging off his shoulders. Muslim paramedic Zoher Abu Jama kneels facing Mecca, his prayer rug unfurled before him. 

Jerusalem (CNN) — There was barely any time to pause.Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama just finished responding to a call regarding a 41-year-old woman having respiratory problems in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. 

Before that, they were checking on a 77-year-old man. There would be more calls ahead. Of that, there was no doubt. 

As the clock neared six in the afternoon, Mintz and Abu Jama realized it may be their only break of the shift. The two members of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel’s emergency response service, paused to pray. Mintz, a religious Jew, stood facing Jerusalem, his white and black prayer shawl hanging off his shoulders. Abu Jama, an observant Muslim, knelt facing Mecca, his maroon and white prayer rug unfurled underneath him.

For the two paramedics, who routinely work together two or three times a week, the joint prayer was nothing new. For so many others, it was an inspiring image in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.

A picture of the two men snapped by a co-worker quickly went viral, garnering thousands of likes on social media and appearing in international media coverage. One user responded on Instagram: “I’m proud of all of the rescue services, it doesn’t matter from what community or religion.” On Twitter, another user said: “One fight! One victory! Let’s unite.”

“The fact that it is so simple makes it so powerful. I believe that Zoher and I and most of the world understand that we have to raise our heads and pray. That’s all that’s left,” Mintz told CNN. A father of nine who lives in Be’er Sheva, the 42-year-old is a full-time MDA worker who trains volunteers.

Abu Jama, a father of seven from the nearby Bedouin city of Rahat, was one of those volunteers. He left his job as a driving instructor to help out as much as possible now. “In terms of belief and personality we believe in the same things and we have something in common,” the 39-year-old told CNN. “I believe he is a person that gives and takes the feeling of honor and that is important.”

Across Israel, MDA teams have fielded 100,000 calls on peak days, more than 10 times their normal volume, according to Zaki Heller, a MDA spokesman.

In addition to the normal work of paramedics and EMTs, MDA teams are responsible for getting coronavirus patients to hospital or to designated quarantine hotels, carrying out coronavirus tests, collecting blood donations and more. Earlier this month, they even staffed polling stations for those in self-quarantine.

MDA Director General Eli Bin beamed with pride when talking about his team, comprised of 2,500 full-time employees and 25,000 volunteers. “The people of MDA are facing the virus, looking it in the eye. The workers of MDA are working with their hands and their gloves and their masks,” he told CNN. “We are the heroes of Israel.”

If Mintz and Abu Jama see themselves as heroes, they certainly didn’t let it show. They know their job, and they know their faith. “Everyone is afraid of the virus,” said Mintz. “So are we, but we have the belief that everything is under the control of God, blessed be He. We both believe this.” 

Abu Jama echoes his partner. “I believe that God will help us and we will get through this. We should all pray to God to get us through this, and we will get through this world crisis.”

The two prayed for about 15 minutes. Then it was back into the ambulance. And back to work. 


Hello Rev. Will,

Here is a beautiful Sikh Prayer for the world during this pandemic.
Even during this global pandemic, violence still persists – The Sikhs that were brutally murdered at the Sikh Temple in Afghanistan were not even granted mercy for a peaceful funeral prayer —  The family members at the funeral were also met by violence.  

I thought this prayer was so beautiful, praying to god and hoping that perhaps his mercy in ending this pandemic, may leave a lasting impression, enough so we may even end all these other divisions as well.


Erica Bains,
Saint Mary’s College, California


Statement from Father Tom and the Interfaith Peace Project Board.


Dear Will and Governing Board,

In my prayer today, I found great comfort in the followingBiblical texts and thought they might comfort andencourage others also:

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I 
am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, 
I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isa. 41:10

“…trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men,” (1 Tim. 4:10)

Will, could you email these to our EC with a letter asking them to pass these, and others submitted, to their congregations and to anyone they feel might benefit from receiving them?

Thank you, Nancy Battey

First Church Christ Scientist, Pleasant Hill and member of the ICCCC Governing Board


Prayers in a Time of Pandemic 

Here are three new prayers, written this past week, as we face the unknowns and perils of coronavirus. One is for medical science. One is for safe travel. One is for healing. “Healing from Coronavirus” is for people who’ve contracted or have been exposed to the coronavirus, including those who might contract the disease in the future.

Healing from Coronavirus
Source of healing,
Cast the light of health and well-being
On those who’ve been exposed to coronavirus,
Those who have contracted the disease,
And those — God forbid — who contract the disease in the future.
Bless them, protect them and bring them speedily to full recovery.
Bless all who are ill
With healing of body,
Healing of soul
And healing of spirit.

.ברוך אתה ה’, מקור חיים
Baruch atah Adonai, m’kor chayim.
Blessed are You Adonai, Source of life.

“Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic” incorporates the perils of modern life with the dangers listed in the classic formulation of t’filat haderech, the traveler’s prayer.

Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic
May it be Your will,
Our God,
God of our fathers and mothers,
That we go in peace
And return in peace,
Safe from the ancient hazards of travel –
Enemies, thieves, ambushes and wild beasts –
And safe from modern perils –
Plane crashes and traffic wrecks,
Scammers and con artists,
Infectious disease and quarantine –
So that our travel serves it highest purpose,
And we reach our destination and return home
In joy, life and health.
Grant us grace in Your eyes
And in the eyes of all whom we meet.

.ברוך אתה ה’, שומע תפלה
Baruch atah Adonai, shomea t’filah.
Blessed are You Adonai, Who hears prayer.

“Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists” is for the wisdom and skill of medical scientists, researchers and public health officials around the world fighting the disease and all diseases plaguing the planet.

Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists
God of wisdom,
Bless medical scientists and researchers around the world
With insight and skill, dedication and fortitude,
As they combat coronavirus,
So that their work yields knowledge and understanding,
Speedily finding a vaccine, treatments and deterrents to its spread.

Source of life,
Grant public health and government officials
The strength to act swiftly and decisively,
With compassion and understanding,
In service to humankind,
Fighting this outbreak
And the other diseases that still plague the planet,
Diseases threatening the lives of our brothers and sisters,
Nations and communities,
Young and old.

Rock of Ages,
Bring an end to disease and suffering,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.

.ברוך אתה ה’, רופא כל בשר, ומפליא לעשות
Baruch atah Adonai, rofeh kol basar, u’mafliah la’asot.
Praised are You Adonai, healer of flesh, maker of wonders.

Healing from Coronavirus,” “Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic” and “Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists” are © 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.


Alden Solovy is the Liturgist-in-Residence at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. A liturgist, poet, and educator, his teaching spans from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem to Limmud UK and synagogues throughout North America. He’s the author of “This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day” and has written more than 750 pieces of new liturgy. His new book, “This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings,” was published in 2019. He made aliyah in 2012. Read his work at www.ToBendLight.com.



Prayer for People Critically Ill or Facing Great Uncertainty

God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.

Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.

Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.

-Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765



Pope Francis’s prayer to Mary during coronavirus pandemic

O Mary,
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.  

[Translation done by Catholic News Service of the prayer Pope Francis recited by video March 11 for a special Mass and act of prayer asking Mary to protect Italy and the world during of the coronavirus pandemic.]



A Coronavirus Prayer

by Kerry Weber

Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.

Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another.

Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.

Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Jesus Christ, heal us.



5 Powerful Prayers for Peace amidst Pandemic Fear

by Janet Thompson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

Fear Is an Invitation to Trust in the Lord

Fear is a powerful human emotion that can cause us to respond inappropriately or motivate us to take positive action. Or fear has the ability to paralyze us from taking any action.

Fear can even stop us from turning to God, our Rescuer, who knows every personal and world disruption we will face. His timeless Word, the Bible, has all the answers and antidotes to keep us calm, cool, and collected.

He assures us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

We want to trust God but there are times when peace eludes us. We’re worried and anxious. We don’t want to be brave this time. Then God reminds us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9

Courage is fear that prays and calls on God. 

1. Take Your Worries to the Lord

Lord, I know that Satan created the spirit of fear, anxiety, doubt, and worries to torture and entrap my mind and rob me of my joy, peace, and sleep. When what-ifs wake me in the dark of night, please help me to denounce Satan and remember 1 Peter 5:7 where you say internal peace is as simple as casting all my anxiety on you because you care for me.

I am comforted that you see into the depths of my heart and the intricacies of my mind where unhealthy fears dwell. You already know what’s troubling me, but you want to hear me share my concerns with you to release the stronghold grip they have on my thoughts and emotions.

Father, I trust that you don’t want me to waste a moment of my life fretting. Please calm my racing heart and fill my troubled mind with hope and my spirit with peace. Assure me that no weapon formed against me will prosper and you have a plan and a purpose for me in this time of turmoil.

Show me your ways Lord and grant me the courage to follow where you lead. Amen.

Isaiah 26:3 NLT
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! 

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

2. Believe God Hears Your Prayers 

Lord, it saddens me that many people don’t understand the power of prayer and even mock me for taking my worries to you in prayer. So I pray first for those who do not believe in you. Where is their hope?

I’ll admit that sometimes you seem silent when I so desperately want to hear from you. It’s torture waiting on you, and yet I will wait because I know my prayers are not in vain. I don’t know if the latest crisis will affect my family or me, but you are omniscient Lord, so I pray that you will spare us.

But if fallout touches any of my loved ones, please comfort them with your healing balm. Sometimes our own choices can put us at risk. So Lord, I pray that we would all be judicious in our actions and interactions.

I can remain in perfect peace because I put my future in your capable hands. Amen.

Lamentations 3:57
You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” 

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

Psalm 91:1-2 NLT
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 

3. Pray with Expectancy and Anticipation

Lord, as I pray with confidence and great expectation, I anticipate your gracious answers to my prayers. When I remember your faithfulness to all generations, excitement and eagerness replace concern and discouragement.

Please help me to remember that doubt and faith can’t coexist in my heart. If I’m doubting or anxious, my shield of faith has slipped. God, I know that you’re looking at the big picture and I can only see a small glimpse distorted by my confusion and perspective. I realize that having faith doesn’t mean there won’t be setbacks or difficult times, but if I’m going to enlist your mighty powers, then I must prayerfully trust that your will is done on earth as it is in heaven. I pray for a miracle of your design. 

Your answer isn’t always what I want to hear, or the option I was hoping for, but whatever it is I will give you the glory because regardless of the outcome my eternity is with you. Thank you Lord, for your Son, Jesus Christ, enduring the brutal cross for victory over our sins and sicknesses. I claim that victory in my life and for my loved ones. Amen.

James 1:6
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Psalm 46:10
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

4. Remain Wise and Discerning 

Lord, I want desperately to take your Word to heart, but a tsunami of negativity and fear engulf me. My thoughts wander to worst-case scenarios. I need your insight to diligently untangle truthful facts from embellished hysteria. I ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in filtering out what I should avoid listening to or considering. Infuse me Lord with discernment and wisdom. Give me clarity of mind and heart.

Guard my mouth that I don’t spread gossip or hearsay to alarm others. Help me to exhibit love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Like the apostle Paul, may I learn the secret of being content in all circumstances, knowing that I can do all things through you who gives me strength to fulfill your desires. Praise you Lord, Amen.

Proverbs 1:5
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. 

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Romans 8:5-6
hose who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

5. Seek Opportunities to Comfort Others

Lord, we won’t live in a perfect world until we join you in heaven. This current situation won’t be the last crisis for the world or for me. I can’t outrun, outpace, outdo, outsmart, or outlive trouble. It has a way of popping up even in the good and prosperous seasons in the culture, my life, and the lives of those around me.

Lord, quiet my raging emotions so that I can be a beacon of healing love and peace to those in my sphere of influence who are overwhelmed by panic and fear. Please help me memorize John 14:1 to share with others who ask me where my peace comes from: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” These are the words that your Son Jesus spoke to His disciples to comfort them and they also give me comfort when I don’t know how the story ends.

Use me Lord as your disciple to bring healing to a hurting world. I love you Lord, Amen.

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Let’s embrace this reminder as we move through a world of unknowns:





Faced with the threat of a pandemic, it is only human to turn to prayer

Today is Ash Wednesday, a day of solemn repentance and atonement, when Christians mark the beginning of the Lenten fast. For them, the forty days and forty nights that Jesus spent in the wilderness, resisting the temptations of Satan himself, signify the pilgrimage of faith. This journey of the soul culminates in the joy of Easter, but before that comes the darkness and despair of the Crucifixion. 

“Ash Wednesday” is also the title of TS Eliot’s first great poem after his conversion to Anglicanism. It is full of allusions to biblical texts, especially Psalm 102, the prayer of the afflicted that has echoed down the ages. The last line of “Ash Wednesday” is a direct quotation from the psalmist: “And let my cry come unto Thee.” Eliot’s spiritual anguish is palpable through the poem and it is this which gives it such undiminished force today, even for a secular culture in which most readers no longer hear the scriptural echoes.

As the world confronts the grim reality of a pandemic that now threatens the lives of untold thousands, it is good to be reminded of the value of prayer. In past times of plague, prayer was not only humanity’s last resort but often the only one. Today, fortunately, there is a great deal that we can do to prevent or mitigate the spread of coronavirus. But we are also beginning to realise that in our globally interconnected era, there is a high price to be paid for any interruption in trade or travel. Our best laid plans are of limited effect; and the freedom of movement that we prize is now problematic.

If coronavirus proves impossible to contain, and Britain suffers an outbreak on a large scale, we must brace ourselves for a period of self-denial. Schools may close, with an impact on the workplace too, while travel restrictions are bound to be onerous for many. A society such as ours is ill-prepared for the limitations on our liberties that dealing with a pandemic could impose. We are used to doing as we please and the sacrifices we make for the common good are few and far between. Above all, we are unaccustomed to being told that we have no choice but to submit to unwelcome privations. Blaming the Government is our safety valve, but when faced with a global threat such as coronavirus, there is little point in pretending that our politicians can make it all go away.

Hence this is a time when the power of prayer comes into its own. Prayer does not presuppose faith. We do not all pray to the same God or gods. Many people who do not believe in any God, who never visit a church or mosque or temple or synagogue, nevertheless find comfort in prayer. 

Prayer is in any case not about asking God to do what we want. “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The words of the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, and which draws on a long tradition of Jewish prayer, embody a profound truth. It is not given to us human beings to determine everything that befalls us in our lives. We must learn to accept our frailties and our insignificance in this often unforgiving world. The universe is not there for our benefit. 

Yet through prayer we are reminded that none of us is alone. Our cries are heard, even if we do not know it. Faced with challenges that surpass our strength, we can take comfort in the idea that each and every one of us does matter, if only we open ourselves to the idea of something beyond ourselves. To pray is to be human; to be human is to pray. It is what we have always done. Faith is a gift from God; prayer is a human right.



Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic 

by Alden, March 4, 2020

This is a new prayer for safe travel, incorporating the perils of modern life with classic language of t’filat haderech, the traveler’s prayer. It’s my third prayer related to the outbreak of coronavirus. The first, ”Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists,” was included in a Central Conference of American Rabbis rapid response liturgy packet, which got me thinking about prayers that might be missing from the packet. I then wrote “Healing from Coronavirus” which was subsequently added. This morning, the idea of a revised traveler’s woke me. This is what I wrote.

Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic
May it be Your will,
Our G-d,
G-d of our fathers and mothers,
That we journey in peace
And return in peace,
Safe from the ancient hazards of travel –
Enemies, thieves, ambushes and wild beasts –
And safe from modern perils –
Plane crashes and traffic wrecks,
Scammers and con artists,
Infectious disease and quarantine –
So that our travel serves it highest purpose,
And we reach our destination and return home
In joy, life and health.
Grant us grace in Your eyes
And in the eyes of all whom we meet.

.ברוך אתה ה’, שומע תפלה
Baruch atah Adonai, sho’me’a t’fila.
Blessed are You Adonai, Who hears prayer.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

Postscript: My other prayers for healing include: “For Surgery,” “On Waiting for An Organ Transplant,” “Upon Recovery from Surgery,” “For Healing the Spirit” and “For a Critically Ill Child.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.



Podcast on Prayer in the Time of Coronavirus

A microbiologist urges Christians to resist the fear that surrounds contagious diseases.

by Morgan Lee



Cathedral leads procession with medieval prayer against pandemic

The Cathedral of St. Paul led a procession and medieval ritual of prayer against epidemic on Wednesday night, March 11.  

By Greg Garrison | ggarrison@al.com

On Wednesday night, the Cathedral of St. Paul led a procession around the block and as part of an ancient Roman Catholic ritual, the “Penitential Procession in Time of Mortality or Epidemic.”

In a spiritual response to the coronavirus COVID-19 respiratory disease pandemic that is spreading worldwide, more than 100 people took part in the walk around the downtown block in Birmingham where the cathedral sits and gathered inside for prayer.

The 16th Century ritual included a litany of the saints with petitions. “From plague, famine, and war, Lord, deliver us,” they prayed and repeated. “That you deliver us from the scourge of pestilence, we beg you to hear us.”

Although the ritual dates to the Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563 in northern Italy, versions of a ritual against plagues pre-dated the current liturgy, said the Rev. Bryan Jerabek, pastor of the cathedral.

The church is not just praying, but taking precautions, Jerabek said.

“We have to trust in God but that doesn’t mean we don’t take every precaution,” Jerabek said.

Parishioners are urged to wash their hands frequently and if they’re sick, stay home, Jerabek said.

Daily Mass at the cathedral continues as usual, but the holy water font has been emptied as a precaution. No shared chalice is used during communion and physical contact has been discouraged, including during the sign of peace, a traditional time of handshakes and greetings. Archbishop Thomas Rodi, head of the Archdiocese of Mobile, advised not to take communion directly from the minister’s hand to the mouth. St. Vincent’s Hospital cancelled Sunday Masses in its chapels and limited visitors to two at a time. 

“Otherwise, we pray and ask God to keep us safe,” Jerabek said.

The Black Plague, which struck Europe in 1347-48 and wiped out an estimated one-third of Europe’s population, was the worst of many medieval plagues. It returned in 1361 and 1374, and the Great Plague of 1665.

The bubonic plague, transmitted to humans by fleas from rats, continues to occur in some places in modern times.

St. Charles Borromeo, archbishop of Milan from 1564-84, took drastic measures during an outbreak of plague in 1576.

“He actually did close the churches,” Jerabek said. “He conducted Mass at major intersections, so people could watch from a distance.”

In times of plague, the church responded with prayers for protection, and when the plague subsided, they thanked God, Jerabek said.

In many European cities, such as Prague, Czechoslovakia, there are public monuments of gratitude for the end of the plague, Jerabek said.

“They thanked God for that,” he said.

Holy water removed at cathedral
The holy water has been removed from the font at Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham. (Photo by Greg Garrison/AL.com)


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