Easter 5A in Quarantine: Refuge in God


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Texts used this week include John 14:1-21 and Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

Entry Into Worship
Your space was prepared for you.
In this time, you are where you need to be.
Embrace the Spirit sent by God
In our quarantine dwellings.
Receive the gift of refuge, knowing that God is near.
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Release the worry and abide in God.

Divine Architect, as we abide in our homes, we wonder what will come next.  We grieve what we have left behind, and we mourn the life we are no longer living.  Fill us with a new Spirit, that we can vision a future filled with joy.  May we spend this time rejoicing in the power of Divine Hope, knowing that your presence is forever with us, God.  Amen.

Prayer of Reconciliation
Have we forgotten about you God?  Have we turned our eyes away from your presence?  In this time, we have welcomed crutches to endure this time of loneliness and uncertainty.  We have forgotten that you are our Great Supplier of Hope and Root of All Faith.  May we begin to invest our trust in you instead of false idols.  May we begin to adopt the practice of gratitude in our daily lives.  Amen.

Assurance of Grace
The steadfast love of God journeys with us forever – in the peaks and valleys of our pilgrimage.  May we embrace the grace which stems from God’s love.  Amen!

Reflection on Giving
In God, we seek our refuge.  In our Divine Architect, we find our wisdom.  Even in this season of the unknown, God is caring for us.  And we are called to give what we have to care for our church, our community, and our world.  We are nudged to give what we can to share the Good News of God’s unconditional and steadfast love for each of us.

In a spirit of thanksgiving, we pray together-

Holy God, Divine Architect, in your presence we find a peaceful refuge.  In your presence, we are called to keep your commandments to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Give us the courage and strength to carry your light into our communities and world with the talents, time, and treasures you have bestowed upon us.  We pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, our Compass in unsure times, Amen. 

As we dream of a future with hope,
We seek our refuge in God.
We find enduring comfort in the Holy Spirit.
We embrace the peace furnished by Jesus the Christ.
We will not let our hearts be troubled or afraid
as the steadfast presence of the Divine is in our midst
giving us the vision to look ahead to the future with love and hope.

(c) 2020 Rev. Michelle L. Torigian.  Permission to us with attribution.

Good Shepherd Sunday in Quarantine – Easter 4A


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Entry Into Worship
What is abundant life
And where do we see it in our homes?
How can we see bounty in the wilderness,
As boundaries restrict us from living our “fullest” life
Do we perceive God’s generosity?
On what in our lives is God’s light shining?  To what type of service is God calling us next?
May worship be a tool of discernment, a flashlight in the shadows, and a celebration of God’s generosity of Spirit.

Holy Shepherd, Divine Leader, we look towards you in this time of quarantine.  From nights in isolation to our days of fog and bewilderment, we search for your healing presence.  We seek your wisdom and guidance in the coming weeks as we look towards the future.  May your Spirit of Hope permeate our souls as we wander in the shadow-filled valleys.  Amen.

Prayer of Reconciliation
Loving God, Divine Shepherd, we listen for your voice, but get drawn by some distracting voices squawking nonsense.  We allow these loud voices to lead us instead of your wisdom.  May we focus on and enact your intentions for our world, our country, our communities, our church, and our own lives.  May your steadfast love and mercy call us on healthy paths which cares for all of of your children.  Amen.

Assurance of Grace
The gift of God is grace which pours over us and leads us to still waters.  May we embrace second chances in God’s mercy which will accompany us throughout our entire lives.  Amen.

Reflection on Giving
The Good Shepherd, our God, requests that we learn from Jesus the Christ’s example.  Through Jesus, we see the ways we are to serve one another.  Through Jesus, we see the leader who is willing to ensure that all neighbors live the abundant life.  What can we sacrifice to ensure our neighbors’ needs are met?  What can we give to ensure that our congregation is able to fulfill its mission and share the good news during this pandemic?  This is our opportunity to see where God is calling us to share our treasures, time, and talents.

In a spirit of gratitude for the gifts that God gives to us, we pray together,

Divine Shepherd, your presence is the rod and staff which brings us peace.  We know we are called to follow your lead.  Open our souls ready to live into a spirit of abundance instead of a mindset of scarcity.  Open our hearts to your flock – your children across our communities and world who are struggling.  Open our minds to the possibilities of how we can share our gifts during this challenging time.  May we continue to focus on your voice as we discern what is next for us.  Amen.

As we leave our time together today-
May God find you pillows of comfort on which you will rest your head.
May God lead you to places and in ways that will keep you healthy and safe.
May God restore your souls during the long days and nights of quarantine.
We will not fear, for you are with us God. 
You will follow us to the ends of the earth and remain with us in our homes.
Your goodness, mercy, and steadfast love will accompany us,
And we will dwell in your loving embrace our whole life long.

(c) 2020 Rev. Michelle L. Torigian.  Permission to use with attribution.

Easter 3A in Quarantine: God Sightings


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God sightings

Entry Into Worship
When the light of today dims into the horizon,
God will accompany us into tomorrow.
As our health wanes and our hope lessens,
God will fill our lives with new possibilities.
As loneliness overtakes our hearts,
God’s embrace will fill us with comfort.
In these long days facing the unknown,
God’s peace will last with us into eternity.

Holy Winds of Hope, as we continue in uncharted territories, may your breezes nudge us to look around us.  As the wilderness surrounds our souls, may we still see your presence in the flowers in front of us, with our kin sheltering with us, and in the star-filled sky above us.  We need not seek far; we can sense you in the voices echoing on phone calls and video chats.  With gratitude, we share our joy that you are near, today and always.  Amen.

Prayer of Reconciliation
God of Steadfast Presence, as we grow to know these shadows next to us, we focus on the lack of light.  We stop seeking the light that comes from you and which brings us peace.  We direct our attention to loud voices of distraction instead of the stillness of you, God.  Our minds are wrapped around news feeds and tomorrow’s concerns.  We focus on everything else and miss the God-sightings in our midst.  Open us to your presence next to us.  Grab our attention so that we sense you in front of us now instead of barely noticing you in our rearview mirror.  Amen.

Assurance of Grace  
We are forgiven for the ways we have missed God next to us.  God understands the mind and heart of humans, and God will appear to us again and again.  Amen!

Reflection on Giving
If we keep searching, keep exploring, we will notice God’s presence near us.  And we will detect the needs of our siblings across our communities as well.  We will discern God’s call of the ways we need to care for this congregation as well as the people outside of the church’s walls.

This has been a time for us to seek God in the wilderness and to listen to the ways that God is asking us to be creative in ministry, communication, and care.  What is God asking us to do next?  In what ways will the gifts we contribute this week further the mission and ministry of our congregation in this time of exile?

We give thanks for God’s calling and for the treasures, time, and talents provided by God.  With gratitude, we pray together:

Divine Presence, in these times of wilderness, you shine your light upon us.  You help us to realize our purpose and give us wisdom on the best ways to utilize our gifts.  Open our souls to possibilities on how we can minister and share your love with our church and community – even when we are miles apart.  Amen.

In the steps we take today, tomorrow, or sometime this week, God of Hope, 
May we see your presence directly in front of us.
May we feel your presence in the winds above us.
May we smell your presence in the flowers around us.
May we taste your presence in the food surrounding us.
May we hear your presence in the laughter which comes from within us.
For you are always a part of our exiles, our promise lands, our dreams, and our eternities.  Amen.

Written by Rev. Michelle L. Torigian.  Feel free to use/adapt this liturgy with attribution.

Easter 2A in Quarantine: Peace Be With You


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Entry into Worship
Peace floats on the breezes
And peace sails on the calm waters.
Peace is heard in the dove’s coos
And in a child’s laughter.
Today, we pray for peace-
A peace which transcends the restlessness in our world,
A peace which fills our souls with hope.

Divine Architect of Peace, the waves of anxiety crash upon us daily.  Will we have enough?  Will we survive? When will “normal” return?  We are riding the swells of the emotional seas.  God of Peace, in this great storm of life, calm the waters.  In the howling wilderness, settle the gusts. For you are our source of peace, our deliverer of serenity.  Amen.

Prayer of Reconciliation
Holy Tranquility, we listen to the news instead of seeking your serenity.  We read article after article instead of meditating upon your presence. Your child spoke “Peace be with you,” and we turned our backs.  Help us to focus on the hope of resurrection and renewal instead of the world’s destructive preoccupations. May we focus our care in ways that are constructive for our neighbors across this community, country, and world during this pandemic and times of isolation.  May we turn our worry into acts of mercy and justice. Encourage us to seek help for overwhelming anxiety so that we can live whole and healthy lives. Amen.

Assurance of Grace
Even when we turn our backs to God’s peace, God continues to send holy calmness in our direction.  May we continue to open our souls to this steadfast peace which already surrounds us. Amen!

Reflection on Giving
In this season of uncertainty, we often want to hide in the caves of scarcity.  Instead, God calls for us to give in a spirit of abundance. Through these gifts, we are able to reach many people outside of the church’s walls.  Through these treasures, our mission continues – even when the world slows down.

With hearts of hope and openness, we pray together…

Divine Tranquility, may we embrace your steadfast peace.  Through your peace, may we confidently give our treasures, talent, and time in order for the work of the church to continue.  Through your peace, may our congregation utilize these gifts wisely to reach a world filled with anxiety and uncertainty and to share your hope and love.  Amen.

As this morning starts a new week, may we embrace the peace of God-
A peace which will carry us through moments of turmoil,
A peace which will connect us with God and neighbor,
A peace which will ask us to be still, and get to know God,
A peace which surpasses our understanding.
May the hope of God, the peace of Christ, and the love of the Spirit
chase away despair and encourage us to embrace divine serenity.

Written by Rev. Michelle L. Torigian.  Feel free to use/adapt this liturgy with attribution.

A Maundy Thursday Communion Liturgy in Times of Quarantine


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Service of Communion

Christ gave us the mandate to love one another.
Christ gave us the peace that we will never be left alone.
Christ gave us the picture that we are connected as vine and branches.
Christ gave us the assurance that no one will take away our joy.

God is with you!
God is with us all!
Open wide our hearts.
We open them to new possibilities.
From our dining room tables to our home offices.
this is the time to give God our thanks and praise.

Our homes may be filled with young voices,
or our homes may be filled with overwhelming silence.
This table might be brimming with family,
or we may be sitting by ourselves at the empty table.
But the table is never truly empty.  The silence will not be the last sound you hear.

Jesus the Christ has created a realm of love for each of us-
one in which we will be reunited with loved ones,
one in which we are assured of God’s comfort.

It was a night filled with teachings and memories.
Undoubtedly, tears were shed and laughs raised.
This was the night before Jesus died.

Jesus took bread. 
As he blessed it and broke it,
he said to his friends
Whenever you eat this bread, eat in remembrance of me.

Later, Jesus blessed a cup filled with fruit of the vine.
Friends, this is the new covenant. Drink this to remember me. Drink to remember our time together.

Spirit of God, surround the bread.  Surround the cup.
Surround the elements – no matter what form they take.
Surround us – no matter where we are.
Bless us in our eating and drinking.
Bless our connection – near and far.

Even with physical distance between each one of us, our covenant with God will keep us together. Amen.

A Shelter-in-Place Palm Sunday Liturgy


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I am using the Matthew 21:1-11 text plus Isaiah 61:1-4.

Entry into Worship
In the spirit of the springtime,
we raise our palms and flowers.
In grateful praise,
we celebrate God’s beautiful creation.

With gratitude,
we breathe in the warming air
and smell the floral scents
dancing in the breeze.

For creation and for our Creator,
we sing songs of praise and thanksgiving.
No matter our location-
we join together this day.

Glorious God,
This is the day that you have made!  From our front porches to our basements, from our bedrooms to our kitchens, we see your light, and we sing our songs of Hosanna.  As world events distract our minds, assist us with focusing on your presence here and now. We give thanks for your enduring and steadfast love.  Hosanna, Glorious Creator! Hosanna in the highest! Amen!

Prayer of Reconciliation
On Palm Sunday, we remember the words of Scripture:
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Through the life of Jesus, we were given steps to follow.
Through the life of Jesus, we too see how we also came along to carry your name, Gracious Creator.

Instead, we worried about our own names and reputations.  We concern ourselves with our own paths and not the one of Jesus.  We sing “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” and we run away from following Jesus.  Build up our courage. Give us resolve to try again tomorrow, knowing that we have been called to follow Jesus’ steps: to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind-up the broken-hearted, and to comfort all who mourn.  Amen

Assurance of Grace
The Spirit of God is among us, giving us grace and imparting strength.  May this courage take hold of our hearts. Let us try again this very moment.  God will call us again and again to love our neighbors as ourselves. Amen!

Reflection on Offering
Whether we are in front of computers or with smart phones in our hands, God is using technology to draw us closer.  God is also using new avenues for us to contribute our talents, time, and treasures to the church. Our Creator uses every means to draw us closer and share what we have.

In this time and space, as we support our staff and care for our congregants, our giving sustains the work of the church.  Please give as you can as our ministry continues in this most unique of situations.

And with gratitude, we pray together:

Gracious God, for treasures collected, for time given, and for talents shared, we express our thanks.  Encourage us to use our offerings to sustain and expand the work of the church. Amen.

Whether we are expressing our joy for Jesus the Christ on Facebook
or continue Christ’s work as we plan online,
we are entering a new world, excited to share the good news of God’s love and grace.

Let us share this love on every platform, through every phone call, and in various letters-For the Spirit of God is with us, bringing us joy, and helping us find new avenues to the future.  Amen!

Michelle L. Torigian (c) 2020  Free to use or adapt as needed with attribution.


Are you looking for a communion liturgy?  Head over to Gifts in Open Hands for a beautiful Communion for Palm Sunday during quarantine/shelter in place.  Thank you Maren C. Tirabassi for your writing!

A Prayer for the Ones Ailing and Dying Alone


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Peace-bearing God-
We know that your presence fills each space and time in our universe.
When we cannot enter a space,
You are present.
When our loved ones are on the brink of Sheol, the roughest of spaces,
You are present.

So many who are on our hearts are in hospitals and care facilities.
The doors are locked to the outside world,
And loved ones are barred from entering.

Their bodies ache and may be failing them,
And what they want most-
To be surrounded by the ones they love-
Is a privilege denied.

So many are about to go on ventilators,
And all they want to do is share love with their dear ones-
A small consolation that is near impossible.

We ask that they find bedside friend through you, Holy Attendant.
May final breaths be filled with memories of loved-filled times.
May moments of healing be invigorated by hope seen in small moments
And friendly strangers.

And for the loved ones outside of doors
Whose deep desires are to be at bedsides
Instead of in silent homes-
May they find peace through you God.
May they find ways to share their love
Before the end arrives.

May your Divine Comfort give all who ail and all who love them
The strength they need.
If death nears,
May they find all of the peace they need from you, God.
We thank you for all of the caregivers in hospital rooms and care facilities
Who can give the ailing a little bit of comfort.

May hearts that are shattered find the healing they need through you.
And may we realize that none of us are every fully alone.


Quarantine Worship – Lent 5 and John 11


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Entry into Worship
Some enter worship with bubbles of joy in their souls
and some come to this time with dread-painted spirits.
Some enter worship with pitchers full of hope
and others only bring bowls of despair.

You may be carrying a myriad of emotions
or feel like your emotions have run dry.
This is the space to bring your fullest selves-
whether withered or flourishing.

No matter where you are spiritually or physically,
Your tears and laughter are welcome here.

Cradling God, as emotions swell in our minds
and our souls feel a disconcerting ache,
be our source of comfort.
In this boundless night of our existence,
be our light.
In a wilderness that has no end,
be our guide.
May we encounter your fountains of hope in this exile.

Prayer of Reconciliation
We are overflowing with emotions right now God.
Some we understand.  Others we do not.
And with this overabundance of feelings
comes an overabundance of reactions.
Some are healthy.  Others hurt.
Forgive us for acting out of our grief.
Assist us in understanding our emotions in new ways
so that we don’t hurt our neighbors again.  Amen.

Assurance of Grace
Jesus got angry.  Jesus wept.  Jesus grieved.
Like Jesus, our full humanity will shine in this world-
from our lamenting to our laughter.
Like Jesus, the Divine Image will be seen in us
through our tears and our grins.  Amen.

Reflection on Giving
In our individual spaces, we recognize the privileges and gifts we bear-
the time that we give,
our special talents,
and our financial treasures.

While the world may seem like it’s slowed quite a bit,
our building still stands,
some programs have become virtual,
and our staff still sustains the work of the church.

With the gifts you give,
the endeavors of the congregation progresses in transformed ways.

So we pray together…
May God bless the gifts we’ve been given
as they will be used to continue our mission
whether within or outside of the church’s walls.
We thank you for technology that we use each day
to promote the mission of the church-
bringing good news and hope to the children of God.

Cradling God-
May our tears bless the ground on which we walk.
May our breath sustain our bodies which houses our souls.
May our beating hearts remind us of your love for us all.
Through our hearts, our breathing, and our tears, let us care for your children in this Lenten wilderness.

(c) Rev. Michelle L. Torigian  Permission to use with attribution.

Coronavirus is in the Body of Christ


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One of the most memorable sermons I remembered was (I believe) from my friend Rev. Jack Lewis.  He delivered the sermon as his senior sermon around the early part of December.  The title was something like “The Body of Christ has AIDS.”

When the Body of Christ has a virus or an illness, the entire body has it.  Viruses aren’t exactly like breaking a foot or straining a wrist – which still impacts other parts of the body to an extent.  Rather, viruses impact the entire system.

Which is why I have to say this: Coronavirus is in the Body of Christ.

Paul gave us a magnificent illustration back in the first century CE.  1 Corinthians 12:14-26 states this:

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.  If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many members, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’  On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,  and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

When a virus attacks the body, we can’t isolate it from other parts of the body.  When we have a stomach virus, we can’t remove our stomach from the rest of our body.  When we had the chicken pox years ago, the entire body would suffer with the red, itchy spots.  Viruses attacks the full system.  “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it.”

Likewise, when the Coronavirus entered the Body of Christ – just one person – it entered the full human body.  It meant that the Body was going to have to work to rid itself of the disease – new ways of living and caring for one another – even in our isolation or if it’s impacting the world away from here.  As it grows closer, even if it doesn’t impact us directly, we are still impacted by what is going on in our communities and world today.

We can’t spiritually isolate ourselves from what is going on by calling it a hoax, or that people of one party want this or caused this. This dangerous rhetoric needs to change. Coronavirus/COVID-19 is real. It’s impacting people in China who are part of our Body. It’s impacting people in Italy – also part of our Body. It’s impacting people in all corners of the world. It’s impacting poor people with less than the best insurance, notable people like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. It’s impacting leaders and their spouses – like Sophie Trudeau. It’s impacting older people through illness and younger people through grief.

And it’s going to take ALL of us to “flatten the curve.”  It will take all of us to change the way we are living to slow this virus to the point in which it is manageable for our medical professionals to treat.

If you say that this doesn’t impact you, then you forget about the child who has had an organ transplant or the person with COPD.  If you decide to keep living life the exact same way you’ve been living, then you risk transmitting the virus to someone over the age of 60 or the person going through chemotherapy.

The Body of Christ is already impacted by this disease.  And the Body of Christ will need a long period of healing even after it is “well.”

It will impact our economy.

It will impact the people we love.

It will impact our social connections.

It’s too late to expel it. The Coronavirus is now part of the body of Christ.

So now that it’s infected the communal Body of Christ/human body, what do we do?

First and foremost, we are required to realize that we are all connected. Each decision we make impacts everyone else – even the people who we have never met or the ones we pass by in stores and doctors offices.

Second, we share our resources of time, talent, and treasures when we can.  We brainstorm and become creative when it comes to allowing people to work or finding pay for them.  We design worship for streaming platforms.  We share.  We begin to trust God and love neighbor instead of hoarding for ourselves.

Third, we reach out to our neighbors as more and more events are being canceled.  We may be physically social distancing, but we are not emotionally and spiritually social distancing.  Canceling events may upset us, but it’s keeping someone else alive.  Even in our grief, let’s reach out to someone else who is grieving the loss of socialization or who may be going through a deep patch of depression or anxiety.  We give thanks for the many ways we can keep connected – from phone calls to emails, from FaceTime to hand-written notes.

Fourth, believe that this is real and advocate for/share love with those who are most vulnerable: people with weakened immune systems, people with lack of housing and food, people with depression and anxiety, people who are over 60, people who do not have adequate child care, and people without decent health care.

This extra effort is required because they are part of the same Body of Christ in which you are and I am.  And this Body is infected.

The Body of Christ has the Coronavirus.  Whether you are the foot or the hand or the stomach or the kidneys or the heart – you are affected.

We are a system.  We are the Body of Christ.  Let us heal together.

Mental Health Litany of Wholeness


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John 14:26-27

One: “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

Entry into Healing

One: When the world is topsy turvy around me, and I can’t see reality clearly.  When the medications haven’t clicked in, and I find myself in a manic state, or when depression is weighing me down.  Is this a panic attack coming on?!?

(Sets a medicine bottle on altar/table)

All: Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

One: This substance helps me avoid the discomfort of life.  And now, it’s tough to set it down. I need it to function. I need it so I don’t feel everything.  It brings relief… and it’s a weight.

(Sets a weight on altar/table)

All: Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

One: Trauma from war has clouded my brain.  All of a sudden mental pictures flash in my mind.  Will these visions ever leave?

(Sets a photo from veterans’ memorial on altar/table)

All: Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

One: My dad can’t remember what he had for lunch earlier today.  And he no longer knows my name.

(Takes off name tag from neck and sets it on altar/table)

All: Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

One: When you lose a spouse, you lose a part of yourself.  I haven’t been able to sleep as well. I’m not like I was before their death.

(Sets a box of tissues on altar/table)

All: Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

One: So many in my pews are hurting – grief and depression, anxiety and trauma, addictions, caregiving.  Where do I go next?

(Sets a stole on altar/table)

All: Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Scripture Isaiah 41:10

One: “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.”

The candle is lit.

Prayer of Healing

Gracious God, Divine Travel Companion,

On this journey filled with worry and grief, our souls feel unsettled.  Our hearts rattle with the notion that something about our bodies and minds will fail.  Will illness and death surround us? Will the ones we love desert us?

Such anxiety sometimes needs additional help, God.  We thank you for counselors, therapists, psychologists, and others who offer a listening ear and constructive feedback.  With their help, we may begin to understand ourselves in new ways.

Bless the medications that we take each day which keeps our minds and our bodies in balance.  Bless the doctors who prescribe and consult and the pharmacists who care for our safety.

Bless the clergy who offer prayers when life crumbles and who will rush to bedsides when illness has overtaken us.  We give gratitude for their words of comfort when grief rolls in like storm clouds.

Through our trauma and our mourning, our anxiety and depression, when substances take the place of healthy living, and as our bodies begin to fail us, comfort us on this journey.  May your peace strengthen us. May your warmth give us hope for the future. Through your gifts and your presence, we see a future with hope.


(c) Michelle L. Torigian 2020 – – Permission to use with attribution