Minister's Post, Fri Apr 23
This Week's Prayer
Dear Reality in which we stand in a relation of inescapable accountability:
The words of the 8th-century BCE prophet, Amos, continue to sound through our souls all these centuries later: “But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Let justice roll down like waters, washing clean the wounds of inequity, that they may begin to heal. Let kindness and respect, like an ever-flowing stream, quench our thirst for beloved community. And let us be steadfast in our resolve to make it so.
Let us stand in gratitude and awe before the wonder of trees, stars, mountains, oceans, and all the creatures that walk upon ground, swim in the waters, wriggle in the earth, and fly in the air. From gratitude for the sacred beauty in which we are emersed, let us orient every day toward halting our planet’s desecration, and restoring what has been desecrated. Let us live simply, that others may simply live. Let us live more simply than we have – until sustainability and equality is afforded to all.
We recognize what a long and deep wound is inflicted on us all by social systems that separate being from actions – and tells one group of people that their being doesn’t matter and tells another group that their actions don’t matter – they are insulated from accountability, whatever they do. We are grateful today for something that didn’t happen this week – because we were afraid it would. We were afraid that yet another verdict in our judicial system would declare that black lives don’t matter, and that police officer actions don’t matter. We are grateful that, this time, that didn’t happen. Derek Chauvin was convicted of 2nd-degree murder, 3rd-degree murder, and 2nd-degree manslaughter for killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020. As the Wednesday morning New York Times reported: “Outside the Cup Food convenience store where George Floyd was killed last May, a woman nearly collapsed in tears upon hearing the guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed Mr. Floyd. ‘We matter,’ she said, straightening up. ‘We matter.’” We have far to go to arrive at a beloved community where no one’s life is disregarded, and no one’s actions that cause harm are disregarded – so we are grateful when a step on that path is taken. We pray to continue the work of making justice roll down everywhere.
We pray also for our siblings in India, running out of Covid-19 vaccines as they battle a devastating surge in the disease. And for our siblings in Chad, embroiled in civil conflict, as they grope for a path toward peace.
We ask of ourselves the mindful intention to delight in what is good, to confront what is cruel, to heal what is broken.
ICYMI ("In Case You Missed It")
Here's the Apr 18 service, "Breathe"
The 7DMA (7-Day Moving Average) of new cases per day has been increasing steeply for the last 9 weeks, and is now 2.2 times what it was on Feb 20. The rate of new cases is now higher than it has ever been -- surpassing this week the previous peak of mid-January.
Worldwide 7DMA of new cases as of:
Jan 11: 745,709
Feb 20: 361,254
Apr 22: 807,268
The 7DMA of deaths per day, worldwide, peaked on Jan 26, and fell steadily until Mar 12 -- a decline of 43 percent over 45 days. After Mar 12, however, deaths began increasing. The 7DMA of deaths per day on Apr 22 was up 47 percent over Mar 12.
Worldwide 7DMA of deaths as of:
Jan 26: 14,462
Mar 12: 8,292
Apr 22: 12,194
In the US, the 7DMA of new cases per peaked on Jan 11. New cases then fell sharply for six weeks: by Feb 21, it was down 73 percent from Jan 11. Ever since Feb 21, the rate of new cases has been essentially flat, wavering up and down only a little: about 64,000 new cases a day, plus or minus 8,600.
U.S. 7DMA of new cases as of:
Jan 11: 255,961
Feb 21: 69,452
Apr 22: 64,204
Deaths have flattened out, particularly in the last couple weeks. The 7DMA of Covid deaths per day as of Apr 22 is 730 -- the lowest since Oct 17.
U.S. 7DMA of deaths as of:
Jan 26: 3,473
Apr 1: 918
Apr 8: 783
Apr 15: 745
Apr 22: 730
So be careful!
Practice of the Week
This week’s slogan is “Use Your Will.” When we say “will,” we don’t mean what’s called “willpower” – sticking doggedly, joylessly to an exercise regimen or a diet entirely for the sake of an outcome. That kind of self-control takes more than telling yourself a slogan. What a slogan can help with is simply keeping in mind what your highest purposes are – your context of commitment. “Use your will” means “remember your intention.” Think of a mother devoted to the care of her family. We generally don’t describe that as being about willpower – but it is a matter of a commitment.
Will is giving yourself over to your highest purposes, which lift you and carry you along. This kind of will feels like being pulled by inspiration rather than pushed by stubbornness. “Use your will” is a slogan reminder to nudge us toward being ardent, resolute, diligent, and mindful. Ardent means wholehearted, enthusiastic, and eager. Let yourself be heartfelt and passionate about your purpose. Resolute means unwavering. Get in touch with your resolve each morning, surrender to it, and let it guide you through the day. Diligent means conscientious and thorough. Don’t expect to pull it off with willpower alone. Find the structures, routines, and allies that help you keep going. A person can be both lighthearted and strong-willed.
Take pleasure in the strength in your will, and the fruits it brings you. Make a list of your highest purposes. Start each day by remembering them – and by identifying some small, doable actions you can do that day that reflect your highest purpose.
See the full post: “Use Your Will.”
See also our SPIRITUAL PRACTICE DIRECTORY