Liturgy for a Time of Wide Spread Suffering

There is wide spread suffering in our time. Sickness and even more wide spread suffering for job loss from lock downs and recent decisions. God is still sovereign even in these times.

Christ Our King,
Our world is overtaken by unexpected
calamity, and by a host of attending fears,
worries, and insecurities.
We witness suffering, confusion, and
hardship multiplied around us, and we find
ourselves swept up in these same anxieties and
troubles, dismayed by so many uncertainties.
Now we turn to you, O God,
in this season of our common distress.
Be merciful, O Christ, to those who suffer,
to those who worry, to those who grieve, to
those who are threatened or harmed in any
way by this upheaval. Let your holy compassions
be active throughout the world even now—
tending the afflicted, comforting the
brokenhearted, and bringing hope to
many who are hopeless.
Use even these hardships to woo our hearts
nearer to you, O God.
Indeed, O Father, may these days
of disquiet become a catalyst
for conviction and repentance,
for the tendering of our affections,
for the stirring of our sympathies,
for the refining of our love.
We are your people, who are called by you,
We need not be troubled or alarmed.
Indeed, O Lord, let us love now more fearlessly,
remembering that you created us,
and appointed us
to live in these very places,
in the midst of these unsettled times.
It is no surprise to you that we are here now,
sharing in this turmoil along with the rest of
our society, for you have called your children
to live as salt and light among the nations,
praying and laboring for the flourishing of the
communities where we dwell, acting as agents of
your forgiveness, salvation, healing, reconciliation,
and hope, in the very midst of an often-troubled world.
And in these holy vocations
you have not left us helpless, O Lord,
because you have not left us at all.
Your Spirit remains among us.
Inhabit now your church, O Spirit of the Risen Christ.
Unite and equip your people for the work before them.
Father, empower your children to live as your children.
In times of distress let us respond, not as those
who would instinctively entrench for our own
self-preservation, but rather as those who—in imitation
of their Lord—would move in humble obedience toward
the needs and hurts of their neighborhoods and communities.
You were not ashamed to share in our sufferings, Jesus.
Let us now be willing to share in yours, serving
as your visible witnesses in this broken world.
Hear now these words, you children of God,
and be greatly encouraged:
The Lord’s throne in heaven is yet occupied,
his rule is eternal, and his good purposes
on earth will be forever accomplished.
So we need never be swayed by the brief and
passing panics of this age.
You are the King of the Ages, O Christ,
and history is held in your Father’s hands.
We, your people, know the good and glorious
end of this story. Our heavenly hope is secure.
In this time of widespread suffering then,
let us rest afresh in the surpassing peace of that
vision, that your whole church on earth might be
liberated to love more generously and sacrificially.
Now labor in and through us, O Lord, extending and
multiplying the many expressions of your mercy.
Amen.

FROM E V E RY M O M E N T H O LY: D E AT H , G R I E F, A N D H O P E
C O PY R I G H T © 2 0 2 0 D O U G L A S M C K E LV E Y

A Legend’s Death

Hank Aaron died today at the age of 86.

On April 8, 1974, I watched on TV as he hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record.

‘Hammering Hank’ broke the record on pure skill and hard work. There was never any suspicion of steroid use. He did it the old fashioned, hard way. He didn’t take any short cuts.

He was a legend not only for hitting so many home runs, but because by all accounts he was a class act… a man of integrity.

His example would be good for a lot of young celebrities today.

Good News Wednesday

I love New Mexico Winters. It’s cold at night, usually in the low 20s, but it gets up close to the low 50s during the day. And, our prevalent sunshine makes it feel even warmer.

What snow we get usually melts in the sunshine in a day or two.

I don’t miss hard, gray, cold, snowy Winters, but I can still appreciate the beauty of Winter in a country like Norway…

Monday

Since I lost my sense of taste, this is definitely an approach I like…

New Mexican quarantine coffee…

The FBI recommends this strategy and I’m all for it…

This next one is actually something Betty and I disagreed about when we first got married. Our families did it differently. Naturally, we do it Betty’s way. I’m no dummy…

For New Mexicans, mild salsa… actually mild anything… would be a form of hell…

A Liturgy for A Sick Day

For this brief pause, for this reminder of my
own weakness and of my dependence upon you,
I thank you, O Lord.
A day such as this, in which I endure
a measure of sickness or unease,
is a reminder that the redemption of all
things is not yet complete. It is a reminder
that this body will decline and one day fail,
and so it is also a reminder that the ways
I spend my days matter—for my hours,
revealed like veins of gold beneath a rushing
stream, are a limited resource to be
purposefully mined or forever lost.
A day such as this is a reminder that good
health and vigor are gifts to be consciously and
gratefully enjoyed, and to be invested while they
might, in eternal things. So let me finish this
day, O Lord, wiser than I began it.
Let me live now, in light of the knowledge
that a time might come in this life
when I feel such sickness and discomfort
for a long season, when I must adjust to a
“new normal,” when my abilities are limited
either by the slow decline of age
or from some accident, injury, or disease.
Therefore let me use the good health that I have
while I have it, presuming nothing.
Let me use it to serve well, to love well,
to care for your people, your creation,
to spend my allotted days
cherishing hearts,
creating beauty,
bringing order,
offering healing,
delighting in your goodness manifest to me in a
million ways, and so to one day come to the end
of my days having stewarded them well.
Heal my body from this sickness,
O Christ My Healer.
Be gracious.
Give rest.
Raise me again to health with a heightened
sense of thankfulness for the unmerited gift
of well-being, and also with a greater sense
of compassion for those who suffer lingering
ailment, disease, or discomfort. Teach me by my
own small sufferings to be a better minister and
friend to those who suffer greatly.
So let even the unease I feel today
work as your servant, accomplishing
your better purposes in me.
Amen.

A LITURGY FOR A Sick Day
F R O M T H E B O O K
E V E RY M O M E N T H O LY
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D O U G L A S M C K E LV E Y