On Sunday March 14, St. John's Port Moody parishioners marked the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. We offered this prayer-poem that wove together all of our reflections on things we’ve missed and things we’ve learned in this past year, and also created two 'word-clouds' as a visual accompaniment to the prayer...
One Year of the Pandemic - All We've Missed and Learned
Gracious and loving God, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic entering all of our lives, we take a moment to grieve all the things that this year we have gone without, and all the things that we have missed dearly…
Being with beloved friends and family in everyday ways and for important milestones.
Our interactions not mediated by distance or masks or screens.
The ability to joke around and laugh together in the same space.
Those small moments of communication and quick connection with those around.
Visits and hugs and the closeness of human touch.
The ability to offer physical help and not only emotional support from afar.
We’ve missed the simple things that we took for granted and only now realize how much they meant.
Pre-pandemic lives that were not filled with anxiety and worry and constant risk assessment.
The income from jobs that have dried up,
The ability and freedom to travel,
And the chance to choose what we want to do on our own terms.
We’ve missed being able to visit with loved ones who are homebound or in hospital.
To be able to say our last goodbyes to and grieve with others and celebrate the lives of those who have passed on to eternal life.
We’ve missed close contact with our church family,
Singing in the choir and singing together with the congregation.
The joy of preparing our worship space each week,
Regular in-person fellowship,
And the sustenance of the Eucharist.
We take some moments now also to celebrate all that we’ve learned about ourselves, our church, and our world in this year…
We’ve learned that less is more, and that we have more “stuff” than we actually needed.
That we ought to be thankful for, and not take for granted, those in our lives.
That when we are selective and purposeful in how we live, we have more time for what really matters.
We have learned the wonders of Zoom and other technology,
The benefits of slower and more meditative worship that all sinks in more,
And that we need to put more effort into our personal prayers.
We’ve learned that community and spiritual feeding can exist in a virtual space,
And that there is also part of us that longs for the solemn reverence of worship in our physical sacred spaces.
We’ve learned that the church is alive even in these challenging circumstances,
And that we can adapt creatively and innovatively to redefine ourselves, whether through online worship or online bazaars.
That with a little effort we, along with the whole world, can figure out a new way to do things.
We’ve learned that we can enjoy our own company, and be creative and stimulate our brains while alone.
We have had times of fruitful reflection, and been able to accept how things are and be positive, growing stronger in all ways.
We’ve also learned that relentless stress can bring out the worst in us,
And many other useful insights into who we are and how we can improve.
We’ve learned that there are so many people suffering.
That the pandemic affected all, no matter our class, colour, or creed.
And that through it all we humans are resilient,
That we can still put one foot in front of another every day and survive.
Lord, we humans do not always learn from the lessons of the past,
But we’ve learned that we don’t need to fall into that same pattern.
We’ve learned that government can rally to help those in need and can benefit from listening to science.
And we’ve learned patience and trust in ourselves and our leaders to get us through this pandemic.
Most of all, we’ve learned that no man is an island, and our reliance on and need for other people,
How we need to be part of a community to thrive.
We’ve learned of the helpfulness and kindness beyond all expectations of family, friends, neighbours, and strangers,
And that we too can offer help to others in many different ways.
We’ve learned that some things are beyond anyone’s control,
That unexpectedly the whole world can change,
And that our faith allows us to rise above fear in all of that,
And declare that ‘all will be well, all will be well, thank you God!’
We pray as we move through this last stretch of the pandemic,
That you would continue to comfort us, guide us,
And show us ways to be our best selves, all that you have created us to be.
As we look back on this year,
We grieve our losses and celebrate our learnings.
And through it all we lean on you, we give ourselves over to your care.
Guide us through safely to the other side of this pandemic, O God.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.