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 Ungar 3/11/20

by Cameron Wiggins Bellm

May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home
remember those who must choose between
preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children
when their schools close
remember those that have no options.

May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money
in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.

May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country,
let us choose love during this time when we
cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace
of God to our neighbor. Amen.

“Every hand that we don’t shake must
become a phone call that we place. Every
embrace that we avoid must become a
verbal expression of warmth and concern.
Every inch and every foot that we physically
place between ourselves and another, must
become a thought as to how we might be of
help to that other, should the need arise.”

-Rav Yosef

When this is over,
may we never again take for granted
A handshake from a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theatre
Friday night out
The taste of Communion
A routine check up
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
a boring Tuesday
Life itself

When this ends, may we find
that we have become more like the people we wanted to be
We were called to be
and hoped to be
and may we stay that way – better for each other because of the worst.

-Laura Kelly Fanucci