By Bishop Peggy A. Johnson
November 1 is “All Saints Day,” a day on the church calendar when we celebrate the lives of Christians (“saints”) who have gone before us to join the “Church Triumphant.” It is a time to remember them, to give thanks for their faithfulness and ponder the passage from the Book of Hebrews (12:1) that reminds us of the “great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on.
This year has been most challenging with the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic back in March. I don’t know anyone who has not been affected by the passing of a loved one this year. So many of our faithful members have gone to be with the Lord. The high volume of deaths has increased our sadness as the year draws to an end. But like those who lived before us, we must persevere with hope and patience.
I encourage you to use this solemn day, a day that our founder John Wesley called a “day of peculiar love,” to recommit your life to the work of the Lord. Emulate the good works of those saints who lived in the past and set a path for us to follow. Commit to an act of “peculiar love” for those in need of justice, shelter and bread.
“Then your light will break forth like the dawn. Your healing shall spring forth speedily. And your righteousness shall go before you.” (Isaiah 58:8)
A Prayer for All Covid-19 Saints
One who notices the sparrows,
One who counts the hairs upon our heads,
You share in our loss,
as we pause to remember all the saints
who have been taken from us because of Covid-19.
Our world is out of balance.
We did not think that something so very small would matter.
We have not been mindful of the upset we cause to an environment
that You have balanced so precisely,
every single part essential to those living around it.
You have humbled us because our pride has gotten the best of us.
We are not all powerful.
We are not so wise.
We have lived foolishly.
Help us learn, that the lives of all are interrelated,
from the smallest virus to the most precious humans we know.
Help us learn, that we cannot make it on our own.
We need each other.
We need each other’s compassion.
We need to understand our responsibility to look out for each other.
Help us learn, to see the world as You do,
as one living creation that is so very precious in Your sight.
Teach us to respect all living creatures,
every plant, every animal, every person,
who together make up this amazing biosphere,
this community where we all live together as Yours.
Be with us as we mourn.
Be with those of us who grieve.
Be with us who are thankful for the miraculous gifts of healing grace,
when one was taken and one was left.
Today we remember the Covid-19 saints,
those now in heaven and those still upon the earth.
May we together praise Your Holy Name,
Forever and ever. Amen.
By the Rev. Michael C. Johnson