Weekly Words of Wisdom 7-22-20

As we continue to live through this Covid-19 pandemic, with its ups and downs, its spurts of early openings and increased infections and deaths, its opening things up and closing things down again, it’s uncertainties about school in the fall and the economic climate and even when we will get back to church, I find myself returning from time to time to a poem I read early on, written by minister and poet Lynn Unger, entitled “Pandemic.” Maybe some of you have seen it. It was written in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, before most of us were asked to stay at home.  Even then, in those first moments, Lynn Unger envisioned a way of responding to the crisis with love, not fear.  The wisdom of this poem goes far beyond the circumstances of the pandemic.  I believe it can speak to us, as well, about some of the other issues we are facing right now, in our nation and our world.

Rev. Sherm Skinner


What if you thought of it

as the Jews consider the Sabbath—

the most sacred of times?

Cease from travel.

Cease from buying and selling.

Give up, just for now,

on trying to make the world

different than it is.

Sing. Pray. Touch only those

to whom you commit your life.

Center down.

And when your body has become still,

reach out with your heart.

Know that we are connected

in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.

(You could hardly deny it now.)

Know that our lives

are in one another’s hands.

(Surely, that has come clear.)

Do not reach out your hands.

Reach out your heart.

Reach out your words.

Reach out all the tendrils

of compassion that move, invisibly,

where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love—

for better or for worse,

in sickness and in health,

so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Unger 3/11/20