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COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

A Prayer for the Housing Insecure

The coronavirus has (re)exposed and exacerbated significant inequities in our country. The people among us who live on the socioeconomic margins are at greater risk than others in this time of crisis. Systems that privilege we who have wealth and access continue to do their work in prioritizing and protecting some over others. Today we offer “A PRAYER FOR…THE HOUSING INSECURE:” the beloved of God who walk the streets seeking a place to rest their heads; people living under the threat of eviction or foreclosure; college students who have lost access to dormitories and have nowhere else to go; and all who fret and lose sleep worrying about safe shelter and a place to call home.   

Isaiah 58:6-7:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Let us pray:

God of liberation, yoke-breaker and justice-maker: hear our prayer this day for all among us who feel the stress and pain of housing insecurity. How does one “shelter-in-place” when there is no place to go or no secure shelter to trust? Where can people go when physical proximity causes hesitation and strangers are targets of suspicion? Undo the bonds of economic inequality that hold unjust systems together and shatter the yoke of oppression caused by the disproportional allocation of resources. Through your system-shattering word, strengthen those who are on the margins, provide security in these distressing times, support those on the frontlines combating housing disparities, and open the hearts of all us to your to tend to our siblings in need. This we pray, trusting in our eternal Home, Christ Jesus, the one breathing Easter deliverance onto all the world. Amen. 

Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres, University Pastor

A Prayer for Servers and Bartenders

When the nation began to shut down businesses and gathering places, bars and restaurants were the first impacted in this transition. Many workers in the service industry lost their jobs and have been some of the longest affected of our workforce. Today, we give thanks for the hard work they do offer, their smiling faces and kindness, even in high-stress situations. We offer a prayer for all in the service industry, for their needs to be met, support to be given, and for an end to the pandemic that has affected so many. 

Luke 22:27

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Let us pray, 

Spirit of Justice, you lift up all who work for others and praise those who serve. In your power and glory, you came to this earth not in a status of greatness, but in an attitude of service. You challenge the status quo and flip our expectations. You are the host at the celebration, blessing the meal and making sure that we each have a seat at the table. Gracious one, we offer thanks for those who work in the service industry: bartenders, hosts, servers, baristas, and bussers. We acknowledge and respect the work that they do working with people and in challenging, high-stress environments. Lord, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to shape our realities, continue to provide for these workers as their jobs change, look different, or some even lose their jobs. Bless them and care for them, and tend to their spirits with a presence of comfort and peace during this time of economic insecurity. Amen. 

Sarah Swindall, Pastoral Intern

A Prayer for Education and Research

Today we resurrect the importance of Education and Research. Education research consists of descriptive, association, and intervention. Research by practitioners, identifies a problem, clarifies the problem, determines the problem, organizes the data and interprets the results. We celebrate all the work and skill sets to do this work.  According to the American sociologist Earl Robert Babbie, “Research is a systematic inquiry to describe, explain, predict, and control the observed phenomenon. Research involves inductive and deductive methods.”

As the world continues to struggle through the COVID-19 Pandemic, the importance of higher education, research and academics is universal. The creativity and scholarship of undergraduate and graduate students and research is crucial in understanding the transmission of and preventing the spread of the virus, as well as discovering a cure or antivirus for the virus proves to be very challenging.  Researchers everywhere are working tirelessly to accelerate research techniques to find a cure, and inform preventive actions, and to better prepare for future potential viruses. Students researchers today are the answer to our problems of tomorrow. Humankind needs answers in order to evolve. Research is crucial to advancing all industries, it is the gateway to exploration, discovery, and problem-solving. Today we offer a scripture and  PRAYER FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH…

Philippians 4:8  (NRSV)

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Let us pray,

All wise God, we give you thanks for the gifts and the calling of researchers, students and professionals. Gracious Lord, every good and perfect gift comes from you and we thank you for the gift of research.  You who created all from your wisdom and knowledge are generous toward us all. God of resurrection, we praise you for you have given researchers the mind to see the tomb from the inside out, to discover meaning. Good Teacher, you equip the academy with the necessary curiosity and skill to dissect the inner workings of problems. Teach us all to appreciate and learn from them and the benefits of their research.  Help and strengthen them when they grow weary and tired. We pray you reward them for their dedication and guide them to great discovery. Bless them with the wisdom of Solomon, the curiosity of Moses, the patience of Job, the devotion of David, the trust of Joseph, the gratitude of Paul and the faith of the gentile woman to continue in this work and study. And finally Lord, we ask you to protect and keep them and their families from all hurt, harm or danger. Lord, you who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the world, it is in your name we pray. Amen

Rev. Babette Chatman, University Pastor

A Prayer for Grandparents and Grandfriends

“Shelter in place” orders and the directive to self-quarantine have impacted everyone. The goal is to flatten the curve of the virus and ultimately to protect the most vulnerable among us. According to the Center for Diseases Control, adults 65 and older are some of the most susceptible people to the hazardous effects of this disease. To protect this population, senior living facilities have severe restrictions on visitors and isolation is the imperative norm for older adults. Dovetail these protective measures with travel warnings for everyone, and people are left yearning to gather with family and friends. Into the reality of this generational loneliness, we offer a “A PRAYER FOR…GRANDPARENTS AND GRANDFRIENDS,” the older adult among us with hearts longing to hold their dear ones, and in particular, their grandchildren and the younger people in their lives.  

Proverbs 17:6: 

“Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their parents.”

Let us pray:

God whose love spans the generations, the young and the old and the in between: we pray out upon these long days of isolation and separation for your steadfast presence and care for all your beloved children. Protect the aged from the harms of the virus whose beautiful bodies, reflecting your divine image, are more at risk. As grandparents and grandfriends are separated from children, grandchildren, and the young ones in their lives, the absence of tender touch and habitual hugs weighs heavy upon hearts. Provide all your people with signs of hope in this season of Christ’s resurrected body. Hold the grand ones among us in your holy embrace as we all await a safer day filled with kisses and hugs that will not be taken for granted. This prayer we offer to you, our grand God of glory. Amen. 

Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres

 

A Prayer for Congregations

Christ is Risen! Hallelujah! Today, many people all over the world are celebrating the holiest of days – but in new and different ways. While many of us are disappointed at not able to attend church or see family because of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, we remember that the glory of God and the miracle of the resurrection is not diminished by our human expectations. Christ is risen! The radiance of Christ shines in each and every one of us today and no amount of distance can destroy the community of believers that God has drawn together in spirit. So, as we celebrate and remember the death and resurrection of Christ, let us remember that we are joined in heart and in spirit, though we may be apart in body.

1 Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Let us pray,

God of resurrection hope, you do wondrous things. You longed to be closer to your people and so you took on flesh and a human life as well as a human death. And your love for your people was so strong that even death could not hold it. Today, many of us are experiencing the wonder of the resurrection alongside our grief; grief that comes from not being able to celebrate in ways that we are accustomed to, sadness at being apart from loved ones, loss of loved ones, jobs, and a sense of certainty in life. On this special day, when we would normally gather with our siblings in Christ and shout “Hallelujah” with one voice, let us remember that, though we cannot gather together in body, we are united in spirit. And you, God, are with us wherever we go. Because we are your church, we are your temple and your Spirit dwells within us. So let us praise you, in new ways. Let us be transformed by your amazing love and renewed in spirit until our own stones can be rolled away. All this in your name we pray. Amen.

Sarah Swindall, Pastoral Intern

A Prayer for Funeral Home Directors/Morticians

Today is Good Friday, the day Christians mark the death of Jesus. It is a solemn day. These are solemn days as global death tolls continue to rise with the virus claiming thousands of lives. Our prayers go out to all who are grieving, who have lost dear ones through the pandemic. And our prayers are lifted up for those who vocation is to tend to the bodies of the dead and walk with those who mourn. This is “A PRAYER FOR…FUNERAL HOME DIRECTORS/MORTICIANS” called upon in these extraordinary days of social distancing and the pandemic to navigate the complexities of caring for bodies and communities of mourners in the face of death. 

John 19:38-42: 

“Joseph of Arimathea…[and] Nicodemus…came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom…and laid Jesus [in the tomb].” 

Let us pray:

God of Good Friday, you entered fully into our suffering through the cross of Christ Jesus proclaiming that there is nowhere—not even death—that can escape your eternal love for us. Into the pain and reality of death and dying, you raise up people to care for mortal bodies, to prepare them for our human customs of grief and goodbyes, and accompany the dead to their burial. We pray for funeral home directors/morticians and all who delicately and compassionately labor at the time of death. Some funeral homes are overwhelmed due to the virus while all are trying to provide this embodied communal care in a time when body-to-body contact is a challenge. Bless and keep these servants safe and give them strength for the days ahead as they bear witness to your holy presence among us in death. And may we all know that by your divine mercy death will never have the last word—this is the goodness of this Good Friday. Amen.  

Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres   

A Prayer for International Students

With transportation at a standstill and stay at home orders becoming the new norm, many of us are able to shelter in place with our loved ones. For International Students studying abroad at this time, many are experiencing an especially challenging and stressful kind of isolation. They are facing the fear and uncertainty that comes with being so far from the comforts of home and the people they care about the most. They worry about the health and safety of those they care about and themselves as COVID-19 continues to change our world on a daily basis. Today, we pray for those strong and courageous students. 

Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Let us pray, 

God of sojourners, throughout time and throughout scripture, you have called your children from the places that they call home to distant lands, setting paths before them that lead to great and wondrous things. We lift up in prayer all the International Students studying at Augsburg and across the whole earth who are distanced from their families and support systems during this time of uncertainty. Lord, though we feel anxious when we find ourselves in situations that we cannot control, we know that you hold all things in your hands and you will not lead your children astray or abandon them. Holy One, give peace to all International students, calm their hearts and reassure them with your presence. Strengthen their systems of care and support, sooth them during emotional days, and provide them with ways of staying connected with their family and friends back home. Help them to not be afraid or dismayed and to feel your love with them no matter how far from home they are. All this in your holy name we pray. Amen. 

Pastoral Intern Sarah Swindallnatio

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Prayer for…Musicians

We live in  a culture full of music. Music is a wonderful gift God has given us. Music is universal. Whether Orchestra, Band, Choir or music therapy. It can be used to soothe the soul. It is amazing how sometimes when someone is feeling depressed or anxious, a song can lift them up. Whether music for congregational worship, resonating through the chapel, the classroom or recital, be it instrumental or vocal the study and practice of music holds a unique place in the history of Augsburg and the world. Music is capable of expressing a variety of moods and feelings, joy and sorrow, hope and fear, or faith and doubt.  Making music, sharing music during these very challenging and isolating times of sheltering in place, creates community and connectivity. Today we offer a scripture and PRAYER FOR MUSICIANS…

1 Chronicles 15:16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

David also commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their kindred as the singers to play on musical instruments, on harps and lyres and cymbals, to raise loud sounds of joy.

Let us pray. 

God of all creation, we thank you today for your gift of musicians. WE know that every good and perfect gift comes from you. We thank you for the custodians of the music of the divine service. We thank you string instruments, wind instruments, percussion and singers. This Holy week, Lord God we ask that you bless all who guide through the ministry of music worship. May musicians facilitate music that brings you glory. Music that transcends barriers that divide race, class, gender, denominationalism, ethnicity or geography. May their gifts create the atmosphere that lifts you up, for you said “If you be lifted up from the earth you will draw all people unto you” today we celebrate musicians for the healers that they are. Providing light and renewal to their soul.

Lord God, gracious and merciful, we pray for their strength, and the strength of their families and loved ones. We ask that you continue to cause them to create and share the gift of music through instrument and voice.  May they find joy in their work and may it fill them with peace, comfort and purpose. Fill musicians with your light and love as they generously share with the world. Lord let all creation sing your praise and the host make music in your presence. Bless musicians as only you can. In your name we pray.

Rev. Babette Chatman

A Prayer for…Factory Workers

In this time of stress, anxiety and heartbreak, there are those whose courage and strength give us hope. Medical professionals, first responders, police, and so many more work everyday to restore safety and health to the people. And there are some who work behind the scenes to provide essential goods that keep our world functioning – those who work in factories. These are jobs that require strong bodies and endurance, a tolerance for long hours and sometimes solitude. Each day, they are asked to continue to work, providing, producing, and building. We pray for their overall health and wellbeing and give thanks for the work of their hands and hearts. 

Psalm 90:17 

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;

establish the work of our hands for us—

yes, establish the work of our hands.

Let us pray

Holy One, you guide our hands as we labor, as we work to build, create, and produce. We give thanks for the gift of strong bodies and astute minds that allow us to accomplish many great things. We give thanks for those who are working in factories even as Covid-19 threatens the health and well-being of so many, for all those making masks, ventilators, and other essential things that we use every day. Lord, we pray that you surround them, the shadow of your protection guard them and their families from all harm as they work. Give to them assurance of income and provide for them all the resources, strength, and support that they need. Gracious God, you bless all of us in so many different ways. Shower all of your children working in factories with your blessing and love as we work through this challenging time. All this, in your holy name we pray. Amen. 

Sarah Swindall, Pastoral Intern

April 6, 2020

A Prayer for…Mental Health Professionals

Bravery and selflessness does not justly describe the character of the health care professionals, essential workers, first responders, grocers, food and service providers along with everyone else working on the front lines across the country, against this unprecedented COVID-19 virus pandemic. Unfortunately, at some point, the critical work they are doing during this crisis, the impact on the family, will take a toll on their psychological well-being. Grief, despair, anxiety, depression, worry, isolation, panic, mood swings, sleep issues, phobia, and other mental issues can complicate the ability to perform their duties.  To ensure the psychological well being of their colleagues, knowing how crucial it is to maintain mental health; Mental health therapists are doing their part. Today we offer this scripture and prayer for MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS… 

Isaiah 41:9-10  (NRSV)

You whom I took from the ends of the earth,  and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant   I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
do not fear, for I am with you    do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,   I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Let us pray…

Loving God, way maker, we offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Mental Health professionals, for psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health therapist providers. We praise you for all the ways you have equipped them with the skills needed to perform their work. That those they encounter through work, coaching and relationship may experience your reflection, your grace, compassion, mercy, comfort and hope as they struggle through this trying season. Protect their minds, their very souls.  We pray you fill them with your Holy Spirit to strengthen, help and empower them for their Mental Health vocation. Remind them of your presence God, that in times of isolation and alienation they are not alone, you are near. Cause them blessed assurance that they are yours, you will bring them through, and that they are deeply loved and seen by you. May they be encouraged every step of the way. Give them a praise in their heart for the burden of heaviness. And last give them rest in you for renewal, so that they may continue the great fight with Faith. May they be met with a cheerful heart and kind word  from everyone they encounter. In your holy and matchless name we pray. Amen

Rev. Babette Chatman 

April 5, 2020