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This litany is intended to be used to mark the one-year anniversary of lockdown measures due to Covid-19. It is imagined as a conversation between two people, with one reading the “We pause” and a second the rest. Candles can be lit after each pause, perhaps using two different colors: one for lament and the other for the hope we proclaim. This litany might also be used as a communal dialogue; inviting those present to speak into each pause with their own griefs, needs, hopes, and realities.

One year ago, we gathered together to worship and pray. We gathered vaguely aware of the changes and fears happening around us. We gathered as carefully as we could, clinging to our usual ways of being together, ignorant of the rapidity of change, ignorant of the fragility of our lives. 

One year ago, pandemic swept across the globe. Little could we have imagined what would change, how fast it would change, how strange it would feel, and just how long it would go on. One year on, it seems important to pause, to give space to notice not only where we have come from, but where we are and where we are going. 

We pause to name our losses and griefs. 

We pause to acknowledge our anger, our fatigue, our frustration, and our fear. 

We pause to remember what is missing, what has been altered, the things we long for. 

Let us pray, where are you, O God? We are lost in the night; have you cast us from your presence? Temptations surround us; their masks grin through the darkness. We run from them, but which way should we go? Where can we hide when all lies in shadow? Have mercy on us, O God. Our eyes are swollen from tears; our bones are cold with fear; our souls have been broken. Do you not hear, Lord? Save us! According to your steadfast love, answer us! Do not hide your face, but draw near and redeem us! 

(reflection in silence or brief song) 

We pause to name the lessons we have learned, the new skills, values, and abilities that have come with adaptability. 

We pause to look around, to be reminded of what is most precious, the values that we have recovered, the spaces we have found anew, the reminders of what really matter most in this life. 

We are reminded how far we have come by faith alone; through our tired trudging and our cheeks damp with tears we catch a glimpse of your presence, your love, your hope and so we pause to catch our breath, to rest a moment before continuing the journey. 

While we grieve, we are grateful. While we weep may we also dance, as we look to the promises of your Son. Today, as we pause, give us the strength that we need to continue the journey together in faith. 

Let us pray. Gracious God, you led your people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. So, guide us that, following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come. Guide and strengthen our steps as we lean upon you. As we walk through the valley, lift our eyes to the mountains; unite us, connect us, strengthen us, and guide our footsteps, we pray. Amen.

Prayers adapted from: The Worship Sourcebook

Rev. Edie Lenz

Rev. Edie Lenz is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. She lives in Lockport, Illinois.