Minister's Post, Fri May 14

In prayer, we take a moment to solemnly remind ourselves of our purposes and our gratitude, that they may guide and affirm our actions and our being. Will you, then, pray with me?

This Week's Prayer

Dear Breathe of life flowing through us,

Recognizing the aspiration we have to abide with reality just as it is, undistorted by what we want more of or what we want less of --
recognizing the compassion we have, our desire that suffering, wherever it may arise, be eased --
recognizing the great wisdom of our bodies – circulating blood, taking in oxygen and releasing our excess carbon dioxide, healing our scratches and bruises and sores, keeping us balanced and alive everyday without need of our conscious attention --
we breathe in all the suffering of the world, and breathe out the salve of care.

We are bodies miraculously born into this world. Our infant brains had no idea how to be born, but our little bodies, and our mothers’ bodies, together knew how to do it. We forget what a sacred miracle our life is, but our bodies do not forget. Our bodies never fail us. They wear out, or will. They break down. But that is not failing us. That is reliably carrying us through our cycle from birth to death precisely as they should. Our bodies never fail us.

These amazing bodies have the capacity to breathe in suffering and transform it. Inhaling, we say yes to another moment of life with all its pain, sorrow, and loss. Exhaling we release all of this. Compassion doesn’t require major effort. We only have to allow it. The pain and difficulty in our life, and the pain and difficult of others, is a gateway to the path of love.

Breathing in the ongoing suffering of this pandemic; breathing out recovery, recuperation, healing.
Breathing in the unrest and violence in Gaza and Israel; breathing out peace.
Breathing in the anger and hate; breathing out concern and respect, dignity and care.
Breathing in the death at the Kabul, Afghanistan girls’ school where a bomb on Saturday May 8 killed at least 85, and at a school shooting in Kazan, Russia on Tuesday where 7 children were killed; breathing out safety, and protection for all students seeking to learn.
Breathing in the plight of 300,000 Cambodians in zones where they are forbidden to leave their homes to get food, while NGOs are barred from entering to distribute aid; breathing out comfort and sustenance.
Breathing in the violence, corruption, and economic calamity in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras; breathing out mercy, conciliation, courage and trust.
Breathing in all the pollution of air and ocean; breathing out cleansing and restoration.
Breathing in all that is broken and hurts; breathing out healing, health, and wholeness.

We ask of ourselves the mindful intention to delight in what is good, to confront what is cruel, to heal what is broken.

Blessed be, and Amen

Covid Review

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.

The 7DMA (7-Day Moving Average) of new cases per day:
For almost 10 weeks (Feb 20 to Apr 29), new cases increased sharply. In two weeks since Apr 29 then, new cases have come down 12% -- but are still double what they were on Feb 20.

Worldwide 7DMA of new cases per day as of:
Jan 11: 745,294
Feb 20: 360,949
Apr 29: 830,185
May 6: 794,940. One-week change, Apr 30 to May 6: -3.8%
May 13: 732,750. One-week change, May 6 to May 13: -7.8%

The 7DMA of deaths per day, worldwide:
Deaths peaked on Jan 26, and fell steadily until Mar 12 -- a decline of 43 percent over 45 days.
From Mar 12 to Apr 30, however, deaths increased 62%. In the two weeks since Apr 30, reported deaths declined a slight 6%.

Worldwide 7DMA of deaths per day as of:
Jan 26: 14,452
Mar 12: 8,293
Apr 30: 13.478
May 6: 12,899. One-week change, Apr 30 to May 6: -4.3%
May 13: 12,644. One-week change, May 6 to May 13: -2.0%

United States.
In the US, the 7DMA of new cases per day peaked on Jan 11. New cases then fell sharply for six weeks: by Feb 21, it was down 73 percent from Jan 11.
From Feb 21 to Apr 28, the rate of new cases stayed pretty flat, wavering up and down between 73,000 and 55,000 new cases a day. Apr 29 broke through to less than 55,000, and new cases per day have continued to decline since then. New cases per day are now lower than at any time since Sep 13.

U.S. 7DMA of new cases per day as of:
Jan 11: 255,657
Feb 21: 69,119
May 6: 46,372. One-week change, Apr 30 to May 6: -16%
May 13: 36,648. One-week change, May 6 to May 13: -21%

Deaths are on a slow decline. The 7DMA of Covid deaths per day as of May 13 is 625 -- the lowest since last Jul 8.

U.S. 7DMA of deaths per day as of:
Jan 16: 3,470
Jan 26: 3,464
May 6: 691. One-week change, Apr 30 to May 6: -5.6%
May 13: 625. One-week change, May 6 to May 13: -9.6%

So be careful! We seem to be headed out of the woods, but people are still dying.

ICYMI ("In Case You Missed It")

Here's the May 9 service, "What Do I Need?"

Practice of the Week

Cogs in the Machine. Our once-a-month Ecospiritual Practice is brought to you by CUUC’s Environmental Practices Social Justice Team. Ecospiritual practice is oriented toward developing spirituality through our connection with our planet home and our responsibility to care for it. This month’s Ecospiritual practice is titled, “Cogs in the Machine.”

Every aspect of our lives – the food we eat, the cars we drive, the places we work, even the toilets we flush – has an impact on the environment, and precious little is within any appreciable individual control. Despite the risk of disengagement on the part of some, the first step toward recovering from our collective addiction to consumptive and polluting culture is recognition of the extent of our powerlessness. We need to be aware of systems that are beyond our control. To change them, we may need to change laws, but more importantly we need to change the culture as a whole.

Consider how the culture shifted around cigarettes. Smoking is no longer the mark of glamour or status it once was. Attitudes shifted. Facing up to the way things really are is a critical first step toward making the deep changes our society so desperately needs.

The Post, "Cogs in the Machine," offers two individual practices to try, as well as a group ritual and questions for conversation with your Ecospiritual group.


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