“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
The impact of the novel coronavirus [COVID-19] is being felt globally. With daily updates and changes, I wanted to reach out to you and offer my prayers and loving thoughts during this challenging and unprecedented time.
When life gets overwhelming and our sense of ordinary time, well-being and balance are affected, we often need a wee reminder to take good care of ourselves and support our neighbours, friends and family.
Part of my self-care and resilience plan involves mapping out parts of the day for stillness, prayer, scripture and connection [while honouring the need for social distancing]. I would encourage you to take good care and practice gentle self-care! Create a wee list of healthy and uplifting activities that will bless your living and ask yourself questions like: when will I do this? Who or what can support you? Stick-to-ive-ness is important.
Sister Joan Chittister offered a brilliant idea for the Lenten season. Sister Joan writes: “Lent is a summons to live anew," and also writes, "To pursue beauty wherever and however it comes deepens our consciousness of beauty everywhere and anywhere. We begin to recognize beauty on the faces of the wise and patient elderly. We come to see beauty in the eyes of young foals alive with life and raring to go. We watch beauty break out of every living thing and suddenly realize the beauty we have found is now in us, too."
You may want to adopt the practice of keeping a beauty journal all through Lent [and through this time of self isolation]. As you are able, share passages or specific insights with your online and on the phone community, friends, or family. How does noticing and praising the beauty around you affect you though these weeks? How does it shape your interactions with others?
I hope that as you figure out healthy daily practices, that acts of loving kindness to self and others will take up a good deal of your time.
While listening to a 15 minute Instagram worship offered by Dr. Brene Brown, this prayer has proved to be a source of strength:
Prayer for Conscience and Courage, Sister Joan Chittister
lead us beyond ourselves
to care and protect,
to nourish and shape,
to challenge and energize
both the life and the world
You have given us.
God of light and God of darkness,
God of conscience and God of courage
lead us through this time
of spiritual confusion and public uncertainty.
Lead us beyond fear, apathy and defensiveness
to new hope in You and to hearts full of faith.
Give us the conscience it takes
to comprehend what we’re facing,
to see what we’re looking at
and to say what we see
so that others, hearing us,
may also brave the pressure that comes
with being out of public step.
Give us the courage we need
to confront those things
that compromise our consciences
or threaten our integrity.
Give us, most of all,
the courage to follow those before us
who challenged wrong and changed it,
whatever the cost to themselves.
Together in heart and prayer