Over these last two months, many prayers and parts of prayers have entered into my mind each day as I am sure they have yours. One is, “the changes and chances of our lives,” which is from a collect found in our Compline service in the Book of Common Prayer. Here it is in full:
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours
of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and
chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP p. 133)
In these last two months, our lives have changed drastically. Many of us have experienced not knowing what day of the week it is – that being in isolation from the rest of the world has us confused. We experience a range of emotions: sadness, depression, hopelessness, boredom, and a sense of fatigue. Yes, there is no doubt that we all from time to time have been wearied by the changes and chances of our lives. We wonder when this time of social distancing and isolation will end. And we are beginning to realize that life as we have previously known it, has changed forever.
And yet – and yet, there are times of joy when we can “see” the faces of co-workers, family members, friends, and fellow parishioners on our computer screens, phones, or tablets. There is joy and sometimes laughter when we have a telephone conversation. There is joy when we send or receive a card or someone chalks our front sidewalk or we chalk theirs!
These challenging times bid us to reach out to those who live alone, especially those in nursing homes or assisted living. Some of our parishioners are healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic every day. Let’s remember them in our daily prayers. The most vulnerable in our country need our prayers and our advocacy. We all can make a difference, even from our homes. Check out the Episcopal Public Policy Network for ways you can help. Our own diocese has a special COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Additionally, Episcopal Relief and Development has ways we can help others during the pandemic.
Often, when evening comes and the world is hushed, we are left with our own thoughts and fears. For me, that is when I lean on the prayers that bring me hope and solace and comfort. The simple prayer service we call Compline is filled with such prayers. Thanks to the suggestion of parishioner Mary Street, we can all join together and say this beautiful Office on Zoom every Thursday evening at 9:00pm. It is a wonderful way to end the day, to ask for God’s protection during the night, and to join with others in prayer and to feel more connected.
Remember that all of us who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in God’s eternal changelessness. No matter what happens now or in the future, God is always with us, even when we may not sense God’s presence – God is here.
Know of my prayers for all of you.
Love and Blessings,
Some Personal News to Share: Lisa and I have moved to the Cape. While we may be separated by a few more miles, we are still very much a part of Epiphany and look forward to our continued engagement with all of you!