A poem by Father Richard Hendrick
shared by Susie Beattie
a member of the Congregational Church
of West Stockbridge, UCC

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.


            They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
            You can hear the birds again.
            They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
            The sky is no longer thick with fumes
            But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.


            They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
            Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.


            Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
            are preparing to welcome
            and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality


            To how big we really are.
            To how little control we really have.
            To what really matters.
            To Love.


So we pray and we remember that


Yes there is fear.
            But there does not have to be hate.


Yes there is isolation.
            But there does not have to be loneliness.


Yes there is panic buying.
            But there does not have to be meanness.


Yes there is sickness.
            But there does not have to be disease of the soul


Yes there is even death.
            But there can always be a rebirth of love.


Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,

            And we are always encompassed by Love.
            Open the windows of your soul
            And though you may not be able
            to touch across the empty square,

Father Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020

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