Dual PandemicsNew Every Morning | February 6, 2023
While composing devotionals about the Psalms for our Double Love congregation, we recognized that the spiritual and social concerns of our congregation were shared by many outside of our immediate community as well. People across the globe, especially those across the African diaspora, found themselves navigating dual pandemics, the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the domestic pandemic of Black bodies being killed in the streets by those sworn to protect them. People of faith around the world were in desperate need of spiritual resources to keep them going. We realized that the work we were doing at our church might be for an audience larger than just our congregation. People were struggling, and the Psalms were the perfect place to begin looking for help.
—Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Andrew Wilkes, Psalms for Black Lives: Reflections for the Work of Liberation (Upper Room Books, 2022)
What resources have helped you navigate the dual pandemics of COVID and racism? Join the conversation.
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army encamp against me
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
—Psalm 27:1b, 3 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Gracious God of Liberation, free us
from our enemies. And when we are the enemies, transform
us from oppressing others into removing the yoke from their
necks and practicing freedom. In Christ’s name, Amen.
—Prayer from Psalms for Black Lives by Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Andrew Wilkes.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
This week’s featured book, Psalms for Black Lives, is now available in audiobook. Listen, pray, and develop a justice imagination wherever you are. Learn more here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.
I do not know how to answer this question as i am white and I have not had to navigate the second pandemiic listed in the reflection. I do not practice racism so I deal with it in that manner. By not contributing to it.
Yesterday was a day for me without Megan. Started off with h not remembering that I am gone every Sunday and not understanding what it meant for him. Came home to him insisting that he needed a heating element for the gate we have upstairs to keep the cats and dog out of his rooms. Obviously it does not have a heating element. He insisted over and over that it did and that it was electric when I pointed out that it did not even use electricity. He continues to decline.
Like Julie, I’m not sure how to answer. Racism is systemic, and I have witnessed it, but have not been a victim. I have dealt with bullying, harassment and discrimination, in the workplace. I had a boss who did not like white people and I had to do 3 times as well in my job performance in order to be considered as good as my co-workers. It was disheartening and played a role in why I decided to leave my job. David needed me at home and the hostility I dealt with at work made the decision easier. When it is happening to you, it is hard to be philosophical about it. But I loved the work and didn’t really want to quit. Interesting that this question came up today, as I was thinking of these things yesterday. I still have a great deal of bitterness and I thought I had put it to rest.
My NEM friends have been instrumental in helping me deal with how the pandemic turned our lives upside down. God used your prayers and support to get us through some dark times. I have also used the voice God has given me to speak truth in the face of denial and disinformation. If truth got through to one person, it has been worth it. I admit to some bitterness here as well, which is directed toward those who have spread disinformation about Covid and vaccines. These lies have killed and maimed. Please pray and I can turn the bitterness over to God and let it go.
Please know that I am not equating my experiences with those of black folks and the crushing racism thatvis a part of their lives. I do think my experiences in my last job can help me be more empathetic to the experiences of those who live with systemic racism bin their daily lives.
Bible study, worship zoom or in person, fellowship, and NEM helped me through the pandemic spiritually, hunkering down, building model railroad cars, walks in the woods, and plenty of PBS, Britbox, an Rakuten dramas kept me busy.
I’m white, live and grew up in a very white state, had very limited but positive experiences with blacks. My closest relations with people of another race started when I was in the military in Korea.
After my service was over I returned to teach at Seoul Foreign School. I met Soo Ok, there. We fell in love, married, had our first child, and lived there for the first three years of our time together. Came to the US with her mother and had a good life. Soo Ok passed away unexpectedly 25 years ago. As a teacher I taught students of all races. Yes, racism is systemic in the US, it has been so since this country started. We have made progress, but not nearly enough, as witnessed by the deaths of so many people of color all around the US.. We are created diverse by God. We are not all alike, yet Go loves us all. Why can’t we love as Go loves?
Saying we are not racist is like saying we are not sinners. Lord, help us love as You love. Thank You, Lord.