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The next day, the human experience riding on the heels of tragedy, affords critical downtime before the onslaught of cleansing grief and its restoration to a different kind of wholeness. Such had been the pattern in our country until last spring’s onset of Covid-19 with its continuing scourge and moans from the populace. Pestilence, the Fourth Horseman in the book of Revelation, still gallops his pale steed among us and shows no signs of fatigue.

And to compound matters, January 7, 2021, is yet another next day following Wednesday’s breaching of the Capitol and its desecration, but there’s little evidence of downtime. Steeped in angst, it feels like the warp and woof of our identity as a nation has been ripped asunder. Beneath the egregious tear festers additional sores of greed, pride, and anger; of them all, half-truths appear the most misleading and divisive. At the bottom of the nation’s wound lays the great switch that keeps many unconscious, on fast-forward, with little quiet for reflection and significant action to benefit others.

More feverishness, rather than accustomed downtime, infects this next day with its imperatives to do this, to do that: More anger, pride, and exhaustion induce skewed reasoning. We need help. On our own, we are powerless.

Would that Dolly Parton’s mother could again make a coat of many colors to cover our nation’s nakedness, adroit as she was in piecing together disparate patches to make a whole. Then, perhaps God will do this if we let Him. Sounds absurd, but it’s not …

The specter Covid continues cutting its eerie swath across planet Earth, felling many with infection and death. Yet, some poopoo safety precautions for the old way that strangled spirit and spawned multiple diseases and crimes, that ignited flash-points of anger among warring nations. In my perception, such conditions served as an impetus to Covid’s outbreak and ensuing mayhem.

In desperate straits, we cry out with the Cosmic Christ:

Our Father who art in heaven—Within our depths, we seek the center-point of Your silence, its balm for the rancorous voices, within and around us.

Hallowed be your name—Before Your inexplicable holiness, we prostrate ourselves on the ground, eyes closed, arms outstretched. We wait for what we know not.

Thy Kingdom come—We yearn for color-flushes of Power within your sphere that eviscerate diseases of mind, body, and spirit besetting planet Earth. Within that Power, we draw fresh courage and continue praying.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven—Another realm exists beyond ours. To access it, surrender of our willfulness and self-absorption must occur, followed by the prayer of humility and honesty and simplicity. We change, the freshened world pulsating around us. Then we demand—

Give us this day our daily bread—And we are fed spiritual nourishment which fortifies our steps across sandy wastelands of disease, one day at a time—as did the ancient Israelites. We continue asking—

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us—We own violence to ourselves and to others, then beg forgiveness; such energize us to forgive others and repair rifts in the social fabric, made even more fragile by Covid’s infection. Our part does matter.

And lead us not into temptation—Its multiple faces of despair, discouragement, and pessimism can plummet us within Covid’s insanity, if not wary—No matter the hardships, within its wake.

Deliver us from evil—We pray for discernment to avoid the allure of evil in its multiple disguises.

For Thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, both now and forevermore— Despite the cloying darkness of Covid, we rejoice within the freshness of the Sacred. We thrive under His protection.

 Amen—And so it is.

“Helping you stay connected,” so concluded a radio announcer on a major media outlet this morning.

Connected to what? I asked myself. To whose agenda? For what purpose? Is the content really helpful? From these questions emerged a larger one: Do I discern what I listen to? Through this sense, I expose my psyche to the world around me with its myriad voices: manipulative and inspirational and everything in between.

Like others, though, when tired, unfocused, looking for a quick fix, I’ll resort to what I know as a less than, from which I emerge all the more depleted and anxious, scattershot having piercing my resolve. With difficulty, I reign in the allurement that snagged my curiosity, then reframe the next moment that leads to self-forgiveness and my accustomed silence. Only therein do I discover what I need to learn as I move through my end time. The words, with their guidance, do come…

With the boy Samuel watching that night in the temple, I pray, “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.”

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