Over the past week we have seen an alarming increase in the spread of the pandemic, and we, reasonably, are fearful and anxious. We fear for our own health and the health and safety of loved ones and friends. We are anxious and worried about the impact a prolonged shutdown will have on our ability to provide for our families. Things are changing rapidly, and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Such uncertainty is unsettling, and fear can be debilitating.
Now, more than ever, we need each other. We need the calming reassurance that we are not alone, that we have each other, and that we will support and help each other to get through this – and we will get through this!
Now, more than ever, we need God. We need the bedrock of faith that reminds us of what is eternal and unchanging, even as so much has changed. We need to remember that the most powerful force in our lives is love – the love God wove into the fabric of existence, a love that is stronger than any virus or illness or plague that might beset us.
Now, more than ever, we need prayer. Not the kind of prayer that asks God to change the laws of nature. We know such things are impossible; God and prayer do not work that way. We need the kind of prayer that opens our hearts to give and receive the love that will sustain us, the love that will quell our anxiety and give us strength to bear the burdens of this crisis, the love that will keep us connected to each other, to God, and to hope.
Shabbat is coming – thank God! – offering us an opportunity to find calm in the midst of this storm. Shabbat is a time to quiet our spirits, to breathe and remember all the blessings that are unchanged and unaffected by current events. Shabbat is a time to open our eyes to beauty, to one another. Shabbat is time for the soul, a time for prayer. Shabbat brings peace. Now, more than ever, we need Shabbat.
This evening at 6:00, as the sun begins to set, we will gather online to welcome Shabbat and feel the warm embrace of our community. Please join us as we open our hearts to peace and joy.
In anticipation of Shabbat, I offer this prayer:
Give us strength to bear the burdens,
the fears and anxieties,
the demands of this trying time.
Soothe our troubled spirits
with the warmth of Your love
and the assurance that You are with us always.
Help us to see the light amidst the darkness.
Open our eyes to the beauty of the world around us
and within each and every one of us.
Bless us with courage.
Bless us with hope.
Bless us with faith
that a new day will dawn
and the light of Your peace will shine upon us all.
May this Shabbat bring you serenity and calm.
May it bring you peace and joy.
May God be with you and your loved ones.
Rabbi Arnie Gluck
Here are the links for joining us via Zoom and Livestream:
- Kabbalat Shabbat Friday at 6:00 p.m.
the prayerbook for printing at home (prayers will also be shown on screen.)
- Shabbat Morning Torah Study, Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
*We can also pray with our feet, by turning our hopes and prayers into action. There are so many ways to make a difference, and so many acts of chesed
(lovingkindness) we can do. Last week the TBE family began to reach out to each other in this way, and the result so far has been amazing. You have made and received calls to connect and to care. You have shopped for each other and delivered meals. Love, too, is infectious, and it is spreading and growing from heart to heart. If you would like to help, or if you are in need of help, send us a message at: HelpingHands@templebethelnj.org