Saturday, September 12, 2020
The numbers are overwhelming, almost unfathomable. About a thousand Americans are dying from Covid-19 on a daily basis. We didn’t think about death in numbers very often until this pandemic, but in 2019 almost 8,000 of us died on a daily basis, around 331 from the old-fashioned flu. But it is so different from this virus.
It was during the Civil War that as a Nation we had to learn to collectivize our grief because so many died away from home. A photograph may capture the intensity of death but it is the death of one that holds our attention: the firefighter cradling the child killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, the nurse sitting alone after a Covid-19 patient died.
How can we grieve the loss of so many on a daily basis when we cannot hold them or comfort them? We know that even FaceTime and video chats are no substitute. And virtual funerals or memorial services do not permit the sharing of intense grief. One commentator noted, it is not grief we share but anger and division. At this time in our national life, we need to come together, not come apart.
Prayer for the Day
Restore in us our sense of community, O God,
So we can renew our hope that is the source of our faith.
Restore in us our capacity to care for each other, O God,
So we can renew our faith that is the source of our hope.
Awaken within us the power of your love so that faith and hope
Are strong rather than weak, open rather than closed.
In the name of him who brings us into community with each other,
Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Thoughts for the Day
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
John Donne, English cleric and poet (1572–1631)
We don’t heal in isolation but in community.
S. Kelley Harrell, American novelist
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!
Psalm 130: 1–2