we are surrounded by a Great Cloud of Witnesses

This Lenten season is becoming more and more cloudy, harder to see clearly, to know what to do, how to be isolated, yet connected. If I were to focus on the snags, the barriers, the alarms, I would be in a cloud so dense, I could not see anything. But daily I see a cloud of witnesses to Life, Hope and Love–all around.

So much has been said about this pandemic crisis–helpful hints, strategies for survival, and government directives–many, many words. All I can do is offer a blessing for the Clouds I see who bring Light to the “new normal,” whatever that becomes:

Bless the mail carrier, who is temporary, new to the block, who despite the rain and the threat of contact with virus, keeps delivering the mail, no matter how late

Bless the manicurist who after his appointments today is closing down to protect his staff, his family and his customers

Bless the therapist and doctor who continue to make themselves available to those who really need them RIGHT NOW, even when it mean inconvenient hours and platforms.

Bless the store clerks and stockers who are working at warp speed to try to fill the demands of panicky shoppers

Bless those experts at every level of government who have to wade through miles of red tape and exert patience toward tone-deaf politicians to bring cure and hope to the nation

Bless the compliant who at great inconvenience and discomfort to their lives and fortunes, self–isolate, alone or with their families, for the good of the community and for their own

Bless the service people who keep our communication systems humming and running–by phone, on-line, through social media

Bless those who already feel isolated by illness or auto-immune compromise who continue to reach out to others with hope, with cheer, with prayers

Bless the ones who are vigilant in their protection and help for those in their circumference of care who are less able to navigate this pandemic by offering food delivery, communication expertise and virtual presence

Bless the faithful pastors and religious leaders who, while caring for themselves and loved ones, are completely committed to keeping connected to the “little ones” in their congregations, who are struggling, but are also willing, to learn new ways of worship and pastoral care under the shadow of this pandemic

As I reflect on each new person who comes into my purview, I claim this prayer from St. Augustine again; it was written for the night time, but it is one that is a pratyer for all of us in the world today and in the days of unknowing that lie ahead of us:

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest your weary ones. Bless your dying ones. Soothe your suffering ones. Shield your joyous ones, and all for Your love’s sake. Amen