This month I’m thinking about a lot of the same heavy topics as many of you. It’s safe to say, I feel that it’s time for a season of prayer.
- Locally our schools reopened yesterday and everyone needs prayers. The teachers and other staff who are finding out with only a few days notice what their assignments are, student changes, and finding entirely new ways to teach, love, and meet their students’ needs. The parents who are facing the challenges of remote learning, child care, or concerns for their children back in-person school. Pray for the students who have to adapt to restrictive times and practices, and school that looks very different this year. This is a stressful time for those making decisions, and those affected by decisions.
- Pray, learn, and ACT for racial justice. We have so much to learn as a church about racism and racial justice in our country. How can we learn together about the challenges and realities around us? And what is our faithful response? My family book club (like many church small groups) has been studying Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew G. I Hart. It’s been tough to identify our own complicity and actively unhelpful actions when it comes to racism. This has been a step in my own journey toward acting for justice.
- Pray for God’s presence. So many people I talk with feel like God is distant right now. Between isolation, distancing, and ongoing digital worship, it is hard for many to feel God’s presence in their daily lives. Take five minutes today to quiet yourself and seek God (or if God feels close to you, pray that someone else experience God today). I think of the old(er) praise song “Unashamed Love” by Jason Morant which calls us to “lay aside the worries of our day // to quiet down my busy mind and find a hiding place” as we praise the one who is worthy of our unashamed love.
- Dream Creatively with Your Congregation. Right now faith formation looks different for most congregations. Whether you’re meeting in person or online some things are different (and will be for at least some months). Whether you serve in leadership or not, leaders are scrambling for new ideas of how to do the business of faith formation (for all ages) in new and relevant ways in a time of fear. If you have ideas–don’t be afraid to share them and if you haven’t volunteered in the past, consider whether this might be a time for you to try something new. Our communities of faith always need someone to try our their gifts of teaching, sharing, praying for, and connecting with others who need these gifts to grow in their understanding of God and their walk with him.
- Be aware of mental health (yours and that of those around you). The pandemic and all that go with it have taken a toll on many people’s mental health. Check out this infographic from Mental Health America (a community-based non-profit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all). They also have a variety of Mental Health and COVID-19 Resources.