Part of the Communion in Times of Coronavirus series of gentle reflectionsInderjit Bhogal, 2020
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Holy God, you are our refuge and our hope.
You live in heaven, on earth, and in our hearts.
Your majesty surrounds us in all your creation.
In Christ you are revealed as One who pitches a tent and lives among us.
You take sanctuary in us and make your home in the core of our being.
Holy is your name.
Holy are your ways.
We bless you for the honour you give us
By making us all in your image,
By calling us all to share in your mission,
And by inviting us all to eat at your Table.
We thank you for Jesus Christ,
In Him You have given the whole world
New patterns of living, loving, learning, serving and suffering,
And the promise of the fullness of life,
Wholesome life on earth,
And life that is not extinguished by death.
We bless you for giving us the gift of your Holy Spirit,
The breath of life;
The strength to live by each day.
We hold before you
All those who are struggling today, and those who bring care, help and support.
Those who are taking their last breaths, and those who watch and wait and pray with them;
Those who have died, and all who are bereaved.
Grant to us, to the world, and all who are in our prayers, your sanctuary and strength,
And bring us all where you want us to be.
In the Name of Christ.
I am pleased to offer this prayer and meditation to support the important and good work of All We Can with some of the poorest communities in the world.
I am not an optimist, but I am always hopeful, I keep hope alive and encourage others to do so too.
Optimism is an attitude that says, relax, everything will be ok, leave everything to God, all shall be well.
Hope is an attitude that says, whatever situation we find ourselves, we will say “right, now come on, roll up your sleeves, we will work together with others around us, apply all the wisdom available to us, and work for the best result, God being with us and our helper. We can make things better and we will not give up”.
Optimism is individualistic and passive.
Hope is solidarity and pro-active.
This hope is in me, for me it is rooted in faith, and solidarity with others.
I see it around me and I find it in others.
This hope has inspired and sustained me not least in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic.
I see this hope in the incredible expressions of solidarity in people, that within all our vast differences we are all one human race, every person is precious, every person is vulnerable, no one is immune, our sickness and our health, our existence and our survival, rests in each other.
I see this hope in the incredible solidarity in people, in attitudes and acts of grace and generosity, in people of all faiths and ethnicities and nationalities, from infants to hundred year olds, that have spread more rapidly than Covid-19.
We have glimpsed and discovered our incredible connectedness to others all around the world.
We have glimpsed and discovered our intricate connectedness to the air and the earth and the environment and all creatures great and small all around us.
We have realised that though people say “we are all in the same boat together”, that we are not all in the same boat. There are different boats, with different levels of protection.
We are all in the same storm, but in different boats. Some people are not even in boats, they are in the water, and looking for life belts.
We have all experienced fear and anxiety about the wellbeing of ourselves, our families, and friends.
We have realised others are in a similar situation to us.
We have a solidarity in our humanity, and frailty, and desire to be safe.
We all seeking refuge and sanctuary.
We have realised that while some of us have good protective people and provision around us, and have homes and gardens, others don’t, and live in danger, in streets, in refugee camps.
Thousands have lost the their homes through wars and violence and extreme weather, and are as refugees seeking refuge and sanctuary.
This coronavirus storm will pass.
But as we take sanctuary ourselves, we keep in our hearts and minds those in their own sanctuaries now, with all the surrounding concerns, those without homes, those away from homes, and refugees who continue to be “the least important” internationally, and we uphold them in our work and prayers.
I give thanks for and find hope in the work of charitable work of organisations like All We Can, through whom we can maintain our solidarity with those who feel most excluded and vulnerable.
The issues in which our hope is grounded are vast.
We will find strength in our human solidarity.
In the midst of everything I have found myself wrenched to the core of my being as a young friend of mine, Lucia, went through a fourth Liver Transplant. The operation took place in January. Lucia worked hard with an incredible team of NHS staff and her family to pull through. Lucia died recently, four days before her 21st birthday.
I have been in desperate need of hope in this situation.
Lucia herself, along with her family and NHS team have filled me with immense hope. She participated in every decision about her life and support, made difficult by the coronavirus restrictions.
Lucia has generated an incredible response to organ donations, and founded her own initiative in this, details of which can be found on the website Live Loudly, Donate proudly.
People like Lucia fill me with hope by bringing the most challenging situations to life, and affecting how we are and live and handle apparently insurmountable obstacles.
So often I find hope and the way ahead in the life of those who struggle the most, who would be within their rights to shout out at God, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me”, but who by their own hope hold out a vision of God where you may least expect to find God.
The ultimate symbol of that hope for me is Jesus Christ.
The story of Lucia reminds me that those who are in difficult situations are also people of hope and resilience. They help to keep my hope alive.
Thank you and bless you for the hope you hold and represent.
Please spend a moment to view how the All We Can Coronavirus Appeal is bringing hope to some of the world’s poorest communities as they deal with the effects of this coronavirus, in particular in our work with refugees and refugee camps at this time.
28 May 2020, Twenty First Birthday of Lucia Quinney Mee, founder of Live Loudly, Donate Proudly