Minister's Post, Thu Mar 25

Dear Ones, Fellow Unitarian Universalists,

Weekly Prayer

Dear Creation:

There are people acutely hurting – sometimes ourselves. There are relationships to be nurtured – involving ourselves. There is the work we are called to do.

We seek the courage to make a difference and to care for ourselves and one another. We seek healing for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, our planet.

There is hatred in the lands. In the US, against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In China, against the Uyghur Muslims.

Our hearts go out to those in Myanmar, where hundreds of Burmese citizens, including police officers, government officials and civilians, are fleeing as violence over last month’s military coup worsens.

Our hearts go out to our siblings in Brazil where hospitals are near collapse and there are reports of spiking Covid-19 case numbers.

Our hearts go out to our siblings in India where they also are seeing a significant increase in infections as they mark the biggest case rise since November.

Our hearts go out to our siblings in Somalia as Covid-19 surge and deaths are reported.

Our hearts go out to our siblings in Australia as the Australian government has declared a natural disaster as heavy rains batter the state and force thousands to evacuate.

As we long to be physically together again -- as we struggle with violence in our world -- as we struggle with devastating racism and bigotry -- as we each make a difference in our communities and world – may we breathe in all the trouble in the world, and breathe out peace and love.


ICYMI ("In Case You Missed It")

Here's the Mar 21 service, "Hypocrites!"

Covid Watch

Worldwide. (I know that reporting from many conuntries is incomplete and inaccurate -- yet looking at trends still gives us an idea of important developments.) The 7DMA (7-Day Moving Average) of New Cases per day is increasing alarmingly and constantly for the last 32 days: Feb 20 to Mar 24. It's up from 361,346 on Feb 20 to 513,085 on Mar 24. That's an average daily increase of 1.1 percent, adding up to a total increase of 42 percent in just 32 days.

The death rate story is not as bad -- so far. The 7DMA of deaths per day peaked on Jan 26, and fell steadily until Mar 12 -- a decline of 42 percent over 45 days. That's an average daily decline of 1.2 percent per day over that period. Great! But then the decline turned around.

Since Mar 12, deaths have been increasing. The 7DMA of deaths per day on Mar 24 is up seven percent over Mar 12. That's an average increase of 0.6 percent per day over the last 12 days. That's a slow increase -- but the numbers of new cases suggest it may pick up speed. In any case, it's not a decrease, which is what we need.

United States. In the US, for the week of Mar 18-24, the number of new cases is down 77 percent from the Jan 5-11 seven-day peak -- so that's good. But the new cases this week are actually up slightly (4 percent) from new cases the week before.

The 7DMA of Covid deaths per day dropped below 1,000 this week, for the first time since Nov 5. Covid deaths in the US peaked during Jan 19-26. This week (Mar 18-24), deaths were down 71 percent from that peak -- and down 16 percent from the week before.

It's good to see US covid deaths continuing to decline, but the rate of new cases has flattened out -- and the worldwide numbers may bode ill for future US numbers.

So be careful!

Yours in the faith we share,

Practice of the Week

Slogans work, as advertisers know – so let's put them to a positive use!

Using slogans to guide and remind you of how you want to be brings more peace and more joy into your life. Maybe you could use a little more peace and joy. Our recent series of “Slogans That Help” has included:Suppose you adopted as your motto, "Pause." We don’t always need to pause. Sometimes we need to “Start.” Or “Resume” – or even, in the limited ways that this is possible in life, “Rewind” or “Fast Forward.”

But if you’re like me, it’s the “Pause” button, I’m particularly likely to neglect when it would have been helpful. So repeating to myself a one-word slogan that reminds me to pause is good practice. Whether you're faced with criticism at work, a partner whose feelings are hurt, an internal urge to lash out verbally, or an opportunity for some gratification that will cost you later, you've got to be able to push the pause button. Your pause gives other people time to have their say without feeling interrupted. It gives you time to discern what's really going on, time to calm down, get centered, sort out your priorities, and let wholeheartedness soften a hard-edged position.

Pause. Make it okay with yourself to simply be from time to time.

Pause. A few times a day, stop for a few seconds and tune in to what's going on for you.

Pause. Before beginning a routine activity, take a moment to become fully present.

Pause. After someone finishes speaking to you, take a little longer than usual before you reply.

For Rick Hanson’s tips on how to help yourself take the pauses that refresh, see the post: PAUSE.


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