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By Rosemarie Wenner, Germany, Retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church and Geneva Secretary of the World Methodist Council

Today my calendar reminds me of a flight from Geneva to Frankfurt. I am not in Geneva though. Like many other people, I stay at home; home for me is in South Germany. The coronavirus thwarted my plans. Yet I am healthy while many people are sick – some to death – and I live in a country with good health care systems, under threat in the moment, but more reliable than in most other countries. I think of colleagues and friends around the globe and those for whom they care. COVID-19 is almost anywhere. We all live in an exceptional status with lots of ambiguities. Here are some examples: 

Many people care for others in extraordinary ways. Physicians and nurses work almost day and night; congregations organize services for neighbors in need. And yet: some co-citizens don’t respect restrictions and put danger on themselves and others. 

The German government acts timely and reasonable. Yet, like all other governments, it focuses almost exclusively on the protection of German citizens; humanitarian resettlement programs for refugees are suspended and there is no attention to those in refugee camps in Greece and elsewhere.

We praise the many blessings of digital means to stay connected and do business and even church. At the same time, the protection of personal data is under threat with wide-ranging risks for basic human rights. 

In these and many other uncertainties and ambiguities I pray: 

Merciful God, you are at work in your world, created out of chaos daily anew.

We come to you with our fear and despair as well as with our hopes and our creative actions.

Comfort us, strengthen us, guide us on our journey through the unknown.

Fill our hearts with compassion for those who are excluded from circles of care.

Sharpen our minds to analyze harmful conditions and guide us towards righteousness. 

Christ Jesus – fill us with your unconditional love.

Holy Spirit – give us long breathing and surround us with peace – beyond our understanding.