“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”
William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
So far, Australia has had approximately 28 detected cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people and 4 deaths per 100,000 people. New Zealand has fared somewhat better, with 24 cases per 100,000 people and less than one death per 200,000 people. Australia’s deaths would have been lower but for some monumental blunders in the management of infected cruise ship passengers. In the USA to date, there have been approximately 524 cases per 100,00 people and 31 deaths per 100,000 people. That is, the infection rate in the USA per population is nearly nineteen times higher than in Australia and the death rate is nearly eight times greater.
In the case of Covid-19, Australia has done well and New Zealand has done better. The USA has suffered terribly, along with others. My point here is very simple: responses to crises of this kind demand good politics, good public emergency, medical, hospital and other services, effective administration and public co-operation and compliance. In the case of the Australian bushfires, Australia suffered badly; the emergency services performed brilliantly but were simply under-resourced and insufficient. They were overwhelmed. The problem was political. Good politics is negotiation towards agreement on action for the common good, followed by action, both immediate and for the long haul. That is lacking in America’s Covid-19 dilemma. It was lacking as Australia burned and is still lacking as Australia’s government ignores climate change.
Circulated by the Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn.
A prayer written by the Dean of St Andrew’s Cathedral. The Very Reverend Kanishka Raffel.
Lord of all days and years, and time and eternity, You made this land and have blessed us with its riches and beauty. You are a refuge to all who seek your shelter, our strong defence in trial and tribulation.
Send rain we pray to extinguish flames and heal our land. Mercifully protect life and property. Give help and hope to our neighbours assailed by fire. Comfort and provide for those who grieve. Uphold those who suffer loss, Give peace and hope to those bewildered and broken-hearted.
We thank you for men and women of courage and selflessness. We thank you for brave communities of care and support, We thank you for those who share your comfort and hope, We thank you for those at a distance giving and praying.
Lord, you sent your Son so that we would know your power to save, your presence with your people in this world of turmoil, and your promise to renew the whole creation. Turn our hearts to you, that we may have faith for this day and hope for eternity. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Intercessions prepared by the Dean of St Saviour’s Cathedral, The Very Reverend Phillip Saunders
At this time of bushfire emergency in Australia we cry out to God calling on his mercy, saying, Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for those whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed in the bushfires. When they are weighed down by grief and loss, uphold them in your love. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for those have lost loved ones in the fires and the families of fire fighters who have given their lives for others. Surround them with supportive family and communities to comfort them. Give them the assurance of your constant care. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for emergency workers, volunteers, and chaplains who are giving their time and resources so freely, and who often feel overwhelmed and depleted of energy by the demands of these extreme circumstances. Grant them renewed strength and hope. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for the work of Anglicare and other caring agencies as they strive to meet the immediate needs of those affected by the fires. For our church, that we may respond effectively to the crisis giving generously and compassionately. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for our bishop Mark, Archdeacon Carol and church leaders in fire ravaged areas. Give them wisdom and energy they need to respond with the love of Christ. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for the leaders of our nation. Give them a desire to lead us in this time of crisis with integrity and compassion and to make available the resources necessary to respond effectively. Give them the desire to work to restore balance in our environment. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Heavenly Father, the magnitude of this emergency overwhelms us. Remind us of the One we follow, who suffered and died for us and rose to bring us new life. Bring new life and hope in this dire situation. Bring rain, restore your creation and heal our land. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
A prayer request from The Reverend Doug Newman, Rector of Bateman’s Bay Parish
Pray that as a faith community we can exhibit the peace of Christ in these very challenging and anxiety causing times. That we can care for those who God gives us the opportunity to serve with love, grace and patience. Give thanks for the love of God that we have experienced, continue to experience and have seen as we walk among the community in these days of challenge.
“By and large a good rule for finding out is this: the kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do and (b) that the world most needs to have done. … The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. ” — Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC. Revd and expanded edn. (Harper One, 1993), 118–19.