Everyone is deeply concerned about COVID-19. This virus has caused so many changes and adjustments to our daily routine. It is causing so much anxiety and fear. The leaders of the world are working around the clock to find ways to address several issues surrounding this crisis. Citizens have been told, “Stay home!” But many are bored and tired. Some families are bonding really well, but others are finding it a challenge to make so many adjustments. Many are finding creative ways to make working from home more fun. Others explore ways to defuse boredom like baking, making art, working out, creating online content or even writing funny songs. The question is, “When will this end?”
We Christians know that the only way is to turn to God. No one else understands this crisis better than He. But what do we say to Him? This hymn by the Rev Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, written in response to COVID-19, may help us with words we may want to say, sing, pray or meditate upon.
The Rev Gillette begins with an assurance that “God’s will is our health and wholeness.” As the hymn progresses, it highlights the importance of intercessory prayer and spiritual discernment.
Through the hymn, we intercede for those who face illness, those who grieve, and those they love; the people who work for healing and the leaders of society; and for the workers so that they can keep up with the demands of life. Even as we intercede, God has gifted us with minds, that we may know how to use them for the common good.
The hymn concludes by asking God: “Give compassion, love and kindness as we serve your people here.” We may holler to God at any given time even as we are emboldened to practise Jesus’ commandment to “love your neighbour as yourself”. How does that resound to us in light of COVID-19?
The Rev Gillette suggests singing the hymn to the tune IN BABILONE: UMH 325 (Hail Thou Once Despised Jesus). If the suggested tune is unfamiliar, we can use alternate tunes such as CONVERSE: UMH 526 (What a Friend We Have in Jesus) or PROMISE: UMH 707 (Hymn of Promise). The hymn may also be used as a prayer or a devotional, or quoted in a sermon.
God Whose Will Is Health and Wholeness
God whose will is health and wholeness, hear your people as we pray:
Many now are facing illness; more face sickness every day.
As we lift our song toward heaven, may we use the gifts you give—
science, justice, and compassion— to help others safely live.
Jesus taught that your commandments call for us to use the mind.
May we use the gifts of science to seek health for humankind.
Bless the ones who work for healing; bless the ones who seek to be
Builders of a health care system that protects society.
God, you call for love and justice, yet our laws are far from wise:
Many don’t have good insurance; lack of health care threatens lives.
Many workers must keep working, sick or not, to pay the bills.
Turn us round when we have sanctioned greed that leads to greater ills.
Loving God, we ask your blessing on the sick and those they love,
And we pray for those now grieving as they lift their cries above.
There is trouble all around us; illness causes pain and fear.
Give compassion, love and kindness as we serve your people here.
Tune: Traditional Dutch melody
Text: © 2020 Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved. Permission is given for use of this hymn for local church use.
词： © 2020, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. Used and translated with permission.
Judith Laoyan-Mosomos is the Director for Worship and Church Music at the Methodist School of Music, and a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.