In this time of Pandemic, I think it’s important for us to remember that no one has done this before. The check out staff at the grocery store, the nurse checking vitals at the hospital, the town and state leaders making decisions that affect all people, the pastor figuring out online worship, the parent without outside-of-the-home-support and the list goes on and on. This is new for all of us. And, it can and does often feel overwhelming.
This past Sunday, at the start of our worship video, I gave my congregation three “G” words that might help us all during these uncertain and anxiety-producing times. I share them now with each of you, in the greatest of hope that they might be useful to you as you navigate these uncharted waters:
Gratitude: Now is perhaps the best time ever to start a gratitude practice. Name aloud or write down what you are grateful for each day. This is a Spiritual Practice that has been proven to increase mood over time. Maybe you’d like to share this practice with a friend or partner? Maybe you’d like to start a gratitude group over Zoom with your church friends? Some days your gratitudes might be really big, other days they’ll be small and simple. And, all of them are good.
Grace: As we approach Holy Week, we can re-engage with the term ‘Grace’ in a whole new way this year. What does it look like to extend additional grace to the people you encounter this week? Might you forgive the professional who hasn’t returned your call as quickly as they would in ‘normal’ times? Maybe you could practice a bit more patience with your children, knowing they are under great stress as well? Some days we will get grace just right, and other days, we’ll be quick to anger or snappy in our responses to one another. And, that is ok. Each day, with the help of God, we get to practice Grace all over again.
Give it to God: This is more of a phrase than a word. But, it’s an important one. Now more than ever, we need to give our daily worries to the God who is strong enough to hold them all. We are not in control and each day we are reminded of that in terrifying ways. So, turn off the news after ten or fifteen minutes. Lean on God. Help one another. As the anxieties rise, give them to God. Visualize them leaving your mind/body/spirit and being caught by God. Toss them into a candle or the ocean. Breathe them out. Do what you need to do to get the worry out of you and into God’s hands.
I pray that you are well and that together, with God, we will get through this.
Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Dr. Ciarán Osborn (he/him)
Rev. Dr. Ciarán Osborn is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, serving in the Boston metro area. He has served as Pastor of several UCC churches in the Boston area as well as in clinical Chaplain positions. Throughout his ministry, Rev. Ciarán has officiated weddings, baptisms, and memorial services in the wider community.
Rev. Ciarán also lives with chronic mental health conditions. He writes, teaches, and preaches regularly on the topics of mental health, mental illness, and faith. Rev. Ciarán writes for the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network. Ciarán is a board game nerd and hiking and Krav Maga enthusiast. His family lives in the Boston area and they share their life with numerous dogs and chickens.