O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
My soul also is struck with terror,
while you, O Lord—how long?
Turn, O Lord, save my life;
deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
This Psalm is titled “Prayer for Recovery from Grave Illness” and it is one of the readings suggested for today. It seems appropriate when the numbers of Covid19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing in so many places, including here in Selma. I know of at least 2 new cases yesterday, because I got a call telling me that 2 more of our Young Adults had tested positive and are now under quarantine for two weeks. That’s three (3) cases in our congregation that I know of, with several others waiting for their test results.
Three cases in our congregation that I know of - all three are between 25 and 30. They are all intimately involved with the worship life of the congregation, part of our Quarantine Qrew who have been providing online worship for us for the last three months. Right now the entire Quarantine Qrew is under quarantine while they wait - either for test results or symptoms. And the rest of us are praying with everything we have.
I didn’t think that the first cases in our congregation would be the young people we have been depending on to do all the tech and music for Sunday worship. I was pretty sure we would have some cases because we aren’t going to stay isolated in our homes forever, and it is a very contagious, fast spreading disease with no treatment available yet. But I really didn’t imagine that it would strike these young, active, healthy people first.
So last night I decided to do something I almost never do - name it and claim it. I don’t often pray this way because it feels too much like I’m telling God what to do. But every now and then I just have to. So I pictured them all standing in front of me, so that I might anoint them. And while I was there with them in spirit I prayed, proclaiming in the name of Jesus Christ and through his power that all of these young people and their families are cured, and free from any sign of the virus.
I will continue to pray in my usual way, asking for healing and wholeness for these and for all who have and will contract the virus. I would ask all of you to pray with me. Pray as the Psalmist prayed, asking for God’s grace to fall upon them, so that they might be well. And take hope in the 9th verse of this psalm:
The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer.
Gracious God, in this time of pandemic, remove our fears, we pray. Let us, like the psalmist, trust your steadfast love, that our souls might know peace and be healed. Amen