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BY REV. JO SCHONEWOLF

March 14, 2020


Has this devotional grounded your resistance to Trump in Scripture and empowered you to act for the common good? If the answer is "yes," then please help us reach more progressive Christians. Become a Patron today.
We pray to a God who not only comforts us, but awakens us and gives us courage.
House passes aid bill after Trump declares virus emergency,” via the Associated Press. “Central to the aid package from Congress, which builds on an emergency $8.3 billion measure approved last week, are the free testing, sick pay and family leave provisions. … [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi negotiated the deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in days of around-the-clock negotiations with cross-town phone calls, even as Trump was speaking at the White House. Voting in the Senate is not yet set, with senators out of town for the weekend. But Senate Leader Mitch McConnell canceled a planned recess week and senators were scheduled to return Monday.”
“God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
Come, behold the works of the Lord;
    see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God!
    I am exalted among the nations,
    I am exalted in the earth.’
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.” —Psalm 46:1-3, 8-11
Often, we take “Be still and know that I am God” out of its context in Psalm 46 and use it as a centering prayer, to calm and focus ourselves when we come to God, with our image of God as the still, small voice, coming to us with peace and comfort and wisdom. We have needed that image of God in the loud chaos of these past few years. 

But as worries over COVID-19 become realities, we might need another image of God, too – the image that the rest of Psalm 46 offers: God our strong protector; God who is able to work wonders. God’s command to “Be still, and know that I am God!” rings out over our fighting and panic and surprises us into silence. It awakens our courage and clarifies our thoughts. It forces us to place our anxieties about the things that we cannot control in God’s hands and focuses us on the things we can do. 

There will come a day when we are past this panic. God is working alongside us, bolstering the hearts of all those who are striving to slow the spread of the virus, strengthening the arms of all the medical workers, and even, apparently, invading the hearts of those in power to begin to take steps that may help provide some relief, even if that relief has been too slow in arriving to prevent worrisome outcomes. When it feels like the entire world is being shaken by this virus, God assures us that there will be a time after this pandemic. It is our task to make sure as many of us as possible make it there.
Read or re-read yesterday’s devotion from Katie Adams, particularly her actions. They are good practices to incorporate into your day-to-day life as we move through these days. Here are a few more: 
  1. Call your senators and tell them to act on the coronavirus relief bill immediately.
  2. Take this disruption in schedule as an opportunity to develop or revamp your spirit-filling practices. On Being has released a collection of podcasts and poetry to help people through their experience of COVID-19. Other good places to begin are with apps like Pray as You Go, Lectio 365, and Our Bible App. 
  3. If church is a safe place for you mentally and spiritually and you aren’t already connected to a church, consider finding a church that you can attend virtually. Many churches who haven’t done it routinely before, like the one I serve, are livestreaming their services this week, a practice that we’ll hopefully keep up even after the worst of the virus has passed. Be intentional about connecting to a community that can uplift you and support you. We’re all in this for the long haul.
Prayer for a Pandemic by Cameron Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. 
May we who have no risk factors remember the most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent. 
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options. 
May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no safe place to go. 
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all. 
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home. 
As fear grips our country, let us choose love. 
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors. 
Amen.
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