A Prayer in the Time of Pandemic

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April 17, 2020

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By Richard Falk

8 Apr 2020 – Affirming spirituality as the power over life and death I aspire to achieve

this spirituality that is nothing other than the blending of love and mystery

cherishing wonder at a precarious precipice, respecting knowledge

prayer seemed a weakening of spirit, a reaching out to the void, pretending

that there was someone there ready to respond, a metaphysical crutch in times of need

evading the loneliness of being when that other in our dreams is silent when and if we awake

we need not, must not, give up hope against hope, as nadezdha mandelstam never did

we need not, must not, cling to promises that can’t be kept, pretending as paul did when

praising abraham as he “believed against hope in hope” taking the greatest risk

put more simply, still falsely, in hebrews 11:1-“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things

not seen,” the assurance invented to banish uncertainty burglarizes

truth, demeaning faith as mere submission to authority, as refusal to live life fully, as refusal of the enchantments of

uncertainty, instead of continuing up mountains to heights where justice dwells, climbing as the air thins, sustained by

love by starlight truly certain and real

 

yet we can lean to see and understand anew, pushed by the crisis of the earth to open eyes more widely, prayer will be

loosened from moorings of church and state, only then becoming truly sacred: so realized, prayer becomes fervent

hope, not needing to be uttered as if a cry of desperation no longer needing assurances or false promises, prayer

becomes love and attentiveness a stone thrown from land far out falling beyond sight in an ocean of uncertainty

 

yet not lacking courage to stare at bodies piling up in churches, morgues overflowing, funerals on hold, statistics

replacing stories so that suffering stays abstract, leaders standing stiffly almost at a loss for words for the first time

ever, yet uttering prime time moonshine language as addressing sheep, confusing optimism with hope, curbing

science and scientists, treating misinformation, market-driven and gut-generated as knowledge, even wisdom

yet we go on listening restlessly waiting for a few words exhibiting love uncertainty, losing patience with what we hear

nightly we turn inward for knowledge for wisdom for love and outward for love for friendship invisible communities all

over the planet bonded by these fervent hopes are gathering the strength to be ready for whatever comes tomorrow

and stand by this prayer

Richard Falk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, an international relations scholar, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, Distinguished Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of Global Studies, UCSB, author, co-author or editor of 60 books, and a speaker and activist on world affairs.

13 April 2020

Source: www.transcend.org

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