April 1, 2020

Daily Devotions

Meditation, Prayers, and Assorted Stuff for April 1, 2020

Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, “The Beauty of Shyness”

There is something beautiful about shyness, even though in our culture shyness is not considered a virtue. On the contrary, we are encouraged to be direct, look people straight in the eyes, tell them what is on our minds, and share our stories without a blush. But this unflinching soul-baring, confessional attitude quickly becomes boring. It is like trees without shadows. Shy people have long shadows, where they keep much of their beauty hidden from intruders’ eyes. Shy people remind us of the mystery of life that cannot be simply explained or expressed. They invite us to reverent and respectful friendships and to a wordless being together in love.

I thought I’d share a few short prayers today that Beth Ann Baus wrote and posted on the Crosswalk website.

For Those Who Live in Fear

God of hope and healing, I don’t even have words for what I’m feeling. My stomach is tied up in knots, my thoughts are skipping so fast I can’t keep up. I’m exhausted but I can’t rest. My dreams at night are as stressful as my thoughts during the day. Excessive handwashing has left my skin raw. Social distancing has left me feeling more alone than ever. I could call a friend, but I’m afraid they won’t understand. I need help. Please help me to calm down. Help me to stay focused on You. Help me to not be afraid. I feel paralyzed. Please take this feeling from me and give me courage, strength, and an unwavering trust in You. Amen.

For the Frustrated

God of hope and healing, I’m so frustrated. I want to make sure I’ve what my family needs during this time. I see people not taking this pandemic seriously, and I see other people hoarding supplies so that others can’t get what they need. Help me with my attitude towards these people. Help me to hold my tongue on social media, to be a light and an encourager, not a sharp-tongued slanderer. Remind me that we all want to keep our families safe, and we all react differently to fear. Remind me to pray for those who are causing frustration, not to be angry with them. Help me to be an example by putting the needs of others before my own by offering to help my neighbors if they are in need. Amen. 

For Our Healthcare Workers 

God of hope and healing, I’m exhausted. There are so many people relying on me, and I’m not sure I can be stretched any thinner. I honestly didn’t know I could keep going on such little sleep, so I give you praise for keeping me going! Please, Lord, keep me safe. Keep me healthy so that I can continue caring for the sick. 

I ask that you protect all healthcare workers. We need them to be healthy and available. I know that you’re the great physician. You’re the healer. Put your healing hand on our patients. Work through us to give them the best care possible. Give us strength when we’re weak, endurance to push through the long hours, and tongues that offer hope and compassion to those sick and scared. 

Some of our patients won’t survive this virus. Lord, don’t let us become numb. Allow us to mourn with those who mourn, but also give us the strength to keep going, to keep working. Give us opportunities to share the hope found in you. Help us not to be afraid. Remind us to praise you in this storm. Amen. 

Back to The Far Side! Let’s call the first one, “We’ve All Been There,” and the second, “Life Under Quarantine.” 

Today’s links! 

We’ll start off with some music. Here, Paul Simon sings his classic “American Tune,” whose lyrics are more relevant than ever. 

This comes courtesy of Julie Daab, and features one of Levi’s professors at Missouri University of Science and Technology. I dedicate it to all of us stumbling through the online world of Zoom and assorted remote apps. 

This article features several live streams available from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

This Ohio principal turned the song “Ice, Ice, Baby” into “Six Feet, Baby” and went viral on the internet. 

Breaking news! Lieutenant Dan, the two-legged hound, has been named the next Cadbury Bunny. 

Stay safe and stay well!