This week our nation reach the lamentable mark of over 500,000 people who have died due to COVID-19. These sons and daughters, mothers and father, aunt and uncles, grandparents, cousins, beloved friends, and respected colleagues led uniquely valuable lives and will be missed and mourned. The reality is  heartbreaking, and the impact will remain with us for our lifetime.

Since our traditioned practices for mourning and showing support have been impacted by the pandemic, we seek ways to lament and find strength. This week in worship during the prayers of the people, we will recognize the lives lost.  If you would like the name of someone you know included, please email it to me before Sunday’s service. Additionally, the Poor People’s Campaign created an online memorial wall—a place to mourn and remember—to which anyone can add the name and story of a loved one: . As faith people, we hold in prayer and strength family and friends of those who have lost loved ones, medical professionals serving the sick, and the staff that support the work of healing in hospitals and other medical facilities.

God of consolation,
Surely you count in heaven,
Just as we count here on earth,
In shock and in sorrow,
The souls sent back to You,
The dead from the COVID pandemic,
As the ones become tens,
The tens become hundreds,
The hundreds become thousands,
The thousands become ten-thousands
And then hundred-thousands,
Each soul, a heartbreak,
Each soul, a life denied.
God of wisdom,
Surely in the halls of divine justice
You are assembling the courts,
Calling witnesses to testify,
To proclaim
The compassion of some
And the callousness of others
As we’ve struggled to cope.
The souls taken too soon,
Whose funerals were lonely,
Who didn’t need to die,
Who died alone,
Will tell their stories
When You judge
Our triumphs
And our failures
In these hours of need.
God of healing,
an end to this pandemic,
And all illness and disease.
Bless those who stand in service to humanity.
Bless those who grieve.
Bless the dead,
So that their souls are bound up in the bond of life eternal.
And grant those still afflicted
With disease or trauma
A completed and lasting healing,
Until suffering ceases,
And we can stop counting the dead,
In heaven
And on earth.

Used with permission: © 2019 Alden Solovy and