There is much to be thankful for.  Sounds a bit odd given our circumstances, but it is absolutely true.  As we have been adjusting to our temporary reality, it is more and more clear that we live in a world filled to the brim with people of great spirit and generosity.  Yes, there are the other kind too, but I have no time to wallow in their negativity when there is so much good with which to fill my mind and heart.  So, take a moment to be thankful.  Not for the uncertainty, the sickness, the scarcity or the losses, but for those who are making these very real challenges bearable.

The Prayer of St. Francis is, I think, quite familiar to many of us.  We often think of it as a plea for peace.  And, it is.  But what strikes me today, is its explanation of how we achieve peace.  Through the active pursuit of kindness, generosity and consolation.  Today, I applaud those who are doing this with vigor.  They are our peacemakers.  And they are our most valuable members; now when we see them, and always, even when we have neglected and diminished their worth.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love;
Where there is injury your pardon, Lord;
And where there’s doubt true faith in you. 

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope;
Where there is darkness, only light;
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
In giving to all men that we receive;
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

There are countless people working extremely hard to ensure we survive this crisis.  And we need to thank them.  Clearly and often.  My sister mentioned that when she goes out to walk her dog, she regularly sees her building manager disinfecting.  This person is putting herself at risk to keep public spaces safe.  She has been thanked, she will be thanked again.  Our grocery store clerks, delivery people, chefs, garbage collectors.  They are carrying us.  Our nurses, doctors, medical technicians, researchers, and hospital cleaning crews.  It is unimaginable what they are doing for us all, what they will face in the coming weeks.  I think about all the employers, executives and business owners that are faced with brutal decisions in order to protect jobs into the future – decisions that break their hearts now, but we will thank them for later.  I am thankful for political leaders that, despite differences of opinion and perspective, are working together, trying to keep us safe.  They don’t know what they are doing – they’ve never had to do this before.  We may not agree with every decision, but in many places in the world they are clearly trying and clearly working together in unprecedented ways.  And I am thankful for those trying to get a handle on what can be done to save our economy in the long term and those working with the unfolding crisis in countries that are far worse off than ours as they prepare to tackle this thing in the coming weeks.  The stress emerging from the magnitude of this is being felt everywhere, and yet people take it on and work nonetheless.  For the greater good.  For their neighbours, coworkers, and those they have never met.

I am not completely naïve.  I know there are those who are taking advantage and those who have completely dropped the ball and are causing significant increases to the chaos.  But, in our pursuit of peace, sometimes we must raise up the good so its strength will both blanket over, and begin to influence the rest.  We have a tremendous opportunity to inspire the entire world, person by person, or on a grander scale.  All of us.  With our gratitude, with our actions.  None is too small right now.

So, thank those around you for all they are doing.  Thank those who are doing no more than staying home to protect others.  Thank those who are placing themselves at risk. Thank those who are doing the really big tasks, thank those who are doing the small ones.   This could be a loud and powerful instrument.  A song sung that will bring consolation, hope, light and joy.  In the midst of our current darkness, what could be more needed?

Thank you.