Minister's Post, Fri Jul 2
This Week's Prayer
Dear Earth and Waters, Air and Sky,
We do not see love the way that we see a tree. Love is an interpretation of what we see and hear – maybe smell (in the case of a meal lovingly prepared), and taste. And feel. Love is an interpretation of sensory awareness that may arise in us -- feelings that seem to pull us forward and toward.
Let us then interpret you, Earth, waters, air, and sky, as extravagantly pouring out your love upon us. Let us understand you as drenching and anointing all of creation. And out of love for us, you gave us a home and brought forth astounding beauty. We might even add, in our imaginations, that you called it good.
Standing, sittling, rolling, or lying in the midst of your vast love, we pray in gratitude.
Ford Motor Company is now producing more electric Mustang Mach-Es than gas-powered Mustangs. Thank you.
General Motors, Honda, Volvo, and Jaguar have promised to stop selling gas cars altogether by 2040. Thank you.
Royal Dutch Shell was court-ordered last month to cut its emissions. Thank you.
Shareholders just forced Exxon to replace a quarter of its board with climate-concerned activist investors. Thank you.
The International Energy Agency this year called solar “the cheapest electricity in history.” Costs of solar and batteries in the United States are one-tenth what they were a decade ago, and the cost of wind energy has fallen 70 percent. Thank you to all who were part of making that happen.
In 2020, 20 percent of US electricity came from renewables. Thank you.
US greenhouse gas emissions last year were down 21 percent from their all-time high. Thank you.
Let our love for you, dear planet, return your love for us.
We also give thanks that the Federal Government this week recognized Juneteenth as a Federal holiday. Thank you. And let us be inspired by this day that marks the liberation of all, and let there be a season of repentance, reconstruction, and reparation, for indeed we are not free – none of us -- until we are all free.
In prayer, we also acknowledge that at times we feel cast at sea – unmoored and lost. We pray for all who worry about the safety of their children and loved ones. Let there be a way toward peace be found in the Middle East.
We ask of ourselves the mindful intention to delight in what is good, to confront what is cruel, to heal what is broken.
The Worldwide numbers are not reliable, and likely are greatly underestimating the actual prevalence of Covid-19. These numbers may nevertheless give us an indication of trends.
New cases per day, worldwide:
Week ending Jun 15: 377,504 per day. Change from previous week: -6.2%
Week ending Jun 22: 360,516 per day. Change from previous week: -4.5%
Week ending Jun 29: 377,852 per day. Change from previous week: +4.8%
New cases per day, US:
Week ending Jun 15: 13,687 per day. Change from previous week: -14%
Week ending Jun 22: 12,078 per day. Change from previous week: -12%
Week ending Jun 29: 12,901 per day. Change from previous week: +6.8%
New cases per day, NY+NJ+CT:
Week ending Jun 15: 939 per day. Change from previous week: -13%
Week ending Jun 22: 774 per day. Change from previous week: -18%
Week ending Jun 29: 804 per day. Change from previous week: +3.9%
Deaths per day, worldwide:
Week ending Jun 15: 8,774 per day. Change from previous week: -9.9%
Week ending Jun 22: 8,309 per day. Change from previous week: -5.3%
Week ending Jun 29: 7,783 per day. Change from previous week: -6.3%
Deaths per day, US:
Week ending Jun 15: 357 per day. Change from previous week: -20%
Week ending Jun 22: 317 per day. Change from previous week: -11%
Week ending Jun 29: 273 per day. Change from previous week: -14%
Deaths per day, NY+NJ+CT:
Week ending Jun 15: 23 per day. Change from previous week: -26%
Week ending Jun 22: 16 per day. Change from previous week: -30%
Week ending Jun 29: 17 per day. Change from previous week: +6.3%
New cases saw a slight increase in the last week -- at all three levels (world, US, and tri-state region). New deaths, however, continued to decline in the world and the US (though, regionally, it went up from 16 to 17 per day).
Our tri-state region (NY+NJ+CT) is home to 10% of the US population, yet now accounts for just 6.2% of the new cases in the US, as well as 6.2% of US Covid deaths in the last week. Greater vaccination rates (currently 55% for the region, vs. 47% for the US) probably have something to do with that. But we won't put the coronavirus behind us until vaccination rates are higher in our region and throughout the US.
ICYMI ("In Case You Missed It")
Here's the Jun 20 service: "Feelin' Groovy"
Practice of the Week
Create a Home Altar.
For the summer, we suggest some Worth a Try spiritual practices. This week: Creating a Home Altar. UU minister Rev. Johanna Nichols writes: The presence of my personal home altar connects me to the sacredness of life. The sacred objects on my altar call forth the sacred in me that connects with the sacred in nature and with the sacred in worship. It beckons me to pause, to reflect and to regain my sense of balance and wholeness.
Whether we do so intentionally or not, each of us creates an environment in our home that nurtures us through our senses — sight, sound, touch, taste, and scent. An altar can nurture you through your senses, add meaning and beauty to your life, remind you that the holy is present wherever we call home.
Your home altar should reflect your personal spiritual story. It doesn't matter whether it consists of a candle, a bell, and a statue of Buddha, or a piece of cloth, or a glass bowl and a photo on linen crocheted by your grandmother. It doesn't matter if you pay attention to the four directions or just gather your own precious objects and mementos. What is important is who you are in the presence of your personal altar. For there, you have created a place where you are invited to recognize the sacredness of life, where you are invited to "wake up!" and be whole. For the complete post about Creating a Home Altar, see the post, "Nature Practice."
See also our SPIRITUAL PRACTICE DIRECTORY
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