James Pennington, Senior Minister of First Congregational UCC, Phoenix, AZ, in an excellent e-newsletter message, points out the deadly consequences and severity of anxiety and how it infects groups like a contagion, not unlike COVID-19 itself.
In part, Pennington quotes one of his favorite authors:
Author Brene Brown states: “Stress and anxiety are two of the most contagious emotions that we experience. Many mental health professionals and researchers believe because anxiety is so contagious, it’s rarely a function of individuals, it’s a function of groups. Like dominos, once one person’s anxiety or stress flares up, it’s really hard for it not to spread – it’s the contagion.”
Pennington went on to pen comforting, pastoral words for his congregation.
I wrote the following prayer in response to the e-newsletter’s message. The poem/prayer alludes to the Hebrews in Egypt (The angel of the Lord passing over dwellings of the Hebrews and the subsequent exodus), the Beloved Communion, a play on Holy Communion and MLK, Jr.’s universal “Beloved Community,” Revelation’s “Come, Lord Jesus,” into the present tense and Jesus as the healer.
Interestingly, the poem contains far fewer words than the number in the explanation. 😇
Oh, Sweet, Healing Jesus,
May contagion passover the congregation.
May comfort abide with the Beloved Communion.
Be with us, Sweet, Healing Jesus.