Pandemic: A Poem

I have been writing weekly for the past two plus years under this Holy Breadcrumbs title. Today is the first day of committing to writing every day, providing something to help us mull over, process, and pray our way through this time. I have no other agenda except to share my heart and hopes with you and to be your companion in this time just as I know you will be my companion.

blog ideasOf course, I was concerned whether I would have enough to say to have a blog topic every day. So yesterday I started a little list to make sure that I captured ideas for later use. To my surprise, by the end of the day I had eight topics that were begging to be written. Right now I can’t write fast enough to keep up with the flow of ideas.

Of course, I know this as a preacher and writer. I can remember periods when I could barely scratch out a sermon as my creative juices were so dry. And then I can remember periods when a whole sermon series seemed to write itself overnight. This is one of those periods–like a teenage growth spurt for writers!

bakeryToday I want to share a poem that has gone viral on the internet in recent days. It was sent to me by one of my favorite persons (you know who you are!). The poem is a reflection on seeing this unsettling and disturbing pandemic as a sacred season of Sabbath. Interestingly enough, we Christians are slogging our way through Lent at this moment. Isn’t it an irony that at the beginning of Lent we ask ourselves, “What am I going to give up this year for Lent?” And the pandemic has laughed at our question and asked, “What are you NOT going to give up?”

We have been invited into a disturbing and sacred season. I invite you to read this, then read it again. Read it slowly. Read it with your heart. Let the Spirit hold you and touch you.

Pandemic

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

by Lynn Ungar

(The Rev. Dr. Lynn Ungar is minister for lifespan learning and editor of Quest for the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Larger Fellowship, an online congregation for isolated religious liberals.)

Blog offered by Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision and Mission, Presbytery of the Cascades

2 thoughts on “Pandemic: A Poem

  1. Thank you Brian. Living alone with no family nearby, you blog will give me comfort. I love the reference to Lent and what we are now giving up.

    Like

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