Interfaith Insight - 2020

Permanent link for "Responding in times of fear, with hope and a prayer" by Doug Kindschi on March 17, 2020

Schools are closed, athletic events canceled, store shelves empty, and a national emergency declared while the World Health Organization declares an official pandemic.  And all this affects our faith communities as well. Most churches have cancelled or moved to live-streaming services. Pilgrimages to the Islamic holy sites in Mecca have been banned and the local Masjid At-Tawheed has suspended Friday prayers. Jewish services have been cancelled as well as other faith gatherings.

From a religious perspective it reminds us that we are not in charge as much as we would like to think. Things happen outside our control and our freedom has its limits.

It has been summed up beautifully by a Capuchin Franciscan priest and friar, Brother Richard Hendrick, who lives and works in Ireland. He teaches Christian meditation and mindfulness and works in the city center of Dublin.  In a recent posting on Twitter, he wrote the following piece titled “Lockdown.”

“Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.


They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighborhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul.

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,


It is also a time for prayer, and Cameron Bellm, a mother of two living in Seattle, offered on Instagram this “Prayer for a Pandemic.”

“May we who are merely inconvenienced
     Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
     Remember those 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.

Posted on Permanent link for "Responding in times of fear, with hope and a prayer" by Doug Kindschi on March 17, 2020.

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Page last modified March 17, 2020