A Prayer in the Time of Pandemic
Prayer by Gene Robinson
Interfaith Day of Prayer
May 7, 2020
Hey God, maybe it’s time for us to have a little talk.
This virus is raising hell down here. It does remind me of You in one way, though: like you, it loves to be a part of your life no matter your race, gender, nationality, immigration status, sexuality.
But you must hate this virus, since it attacks the most vulnerable among us — you know, the ones closest to your heart?
Am I supposed to be learning something, God?
—prisoners, disproportionately black and young, trapped in a deadly virus vortex.
—the forgotten elderly in our nursing homes, which have become killing fields.
—under- paid, overly-worked women and men, crammed up against one another and the virus, and the raw meat keeps coming down the conveyor belts faster and faster.
There’s a bit of respite for the vulnerable planet, though. We can see cityscapes and mountains long clouded by smog and pollution. I forgot how beautiful they are!
Do you mean for this virus to be a wake up call about how we’re treating the most vulnerable among us — even the earth itself — long before the virus?
Now that I think about it…
—incarceration and white supremacy have been killing people for a long time now.
—isolating our elders, and leaving their care to others, is nothing new.
—workers paid less than a living wage for body-cruel and mind-numbing work is fine as long as our plastic-wrapped beef is in the supermarket, at a cheap price.
I know you didn’t send this virus. But are you using it to teach us, judge us, inspire us? Are you shining a virus-light on the last, the lost and the least? What a wasted pandemic if we don’t learn from it!
God, if you’re listening, I’m begging you to help me see. And learn. And act.
Bishop Gene Robinson
IX Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, author, educator, theologian, social justice activist, first openly gay person ordained Bishop in the Anglican Communion and Vice President of Religion, Chautauqua Institution.