I once wrote a sermon entitled “Saving the World from the World We Live in.” Then, I never imagined that we would be in a global pandemic. But here we are. Not only must we get through this world health crisis of COVID-19, but all the other things I talked about then that it has brought to light. Racial and political unrest, ecological devastation, food insecurities, health care, economic disparity, gender inequality, are among the things that still call out for healing all around the world.
Sometimes it seems like all I can do is wait and pray, and then wait, and pray some more. Thinking, “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from God.” Psalm 62:5
So I do, and yet I feel this sense that we are all being called to move, especially in this time of a global pandemic. But to what? And how? When social distancing and health care measures are the order of each day. I realize that for some people, it’s not a problem. But for most, who live moment to moment, it’s quite difficult. An already hard and sometimes struggling life is made even more difficult by unemployment, by the planet crying out for healing, fear and violence, and the exploitations of others.
I find myself reaching for the words to pray and praise my way through it as I do even the little things I can to help someone along the way.
May this psalm, created in the hours and days of listening to God, help you while you wait and pray. So that we can open our hearts and minds to hear the voices of people long silenced. That we may find ways to walk in solidary with communities near and far. That we may remember that we are all created in God’s image, are all blessed by God, and are called to care for the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
A New Psalm of Praise and Thanksgiving
Praise the LORD!
Praise to the LORD on high
Praise creates a space for us to let go,
An opportunity to look out! To look up!
A gift to our souls to let God shine!
When we praise, we open ourselves to the
Spirit’s transforming power.
When we praise, it’s a shout in celebration
to the wonders of God
In the memories of yesterday,
We call to mind all those we have lost
We remember their gifts of laughter, love, and light.
We give God thanks that their living was not in vain.
In the experiences of today,
We are awakened to the realities of the disparity, greed, and adversity exposed by COVID-19
We practice physical distancing in the hope to spread healing rather than hurt.
We invest our limited resources in what we need rather than what we want.
In the hopes promised in tomorrow
We gather in worship, to work and witness to the transforming power of love.
We use our hands and feet to walk with those on the margins.
We rest in the assurance that God is always with us.
Let us journey on now to the places where love reigns, courage supports our way, and the enduring promises of God guides.
Let your spirit come to us as a new song that helps us reach beyond our today to your tomorrow.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
With our whole heart
And with every breath we take
We will praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
—Dr. Dianna Wright
Interim Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations
In the Office of the General Assembly for the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Dianna Wright is a graduate of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Richmon, Virginia, and Columba Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia.