A Liturgy for a Sick Day
There are a lot of people home sick in these early days of 2022, whether because of Omicron or some other thing. I was among them last week. My experience of Covid was fairly ordinary, even boring. It felt like a common cold. I say this knowing full well that others have had worse experiences than I have. One of weirdest thing about this virus (and there are many weird things!) is how differently it seems to affect people.
At any rate, being home sick is obviously not a pleasant experience. But if nothing else it can be an opportunity to pause, to reflect, to rest, to pray, even. A few weeks ago, I picked up an early Christmas present to myself from our local bookstore. Douglas Kaine McKelvey has put together a marvellous two volume collection of liturgies called Every Moment Holy. I’ve used a few in public worship already, but mostly I’ve just been enjoying reading and praying them on my own. Today, I came across this one called “A Liturgy for a Sick Day.” I share it in the hopes that anyone who’s home sick or caring for someone else might derive comfort and strength from these words.
For this brief pause, for this reminder of my
own weakness and of my dependence upon you,
I thank you, O Lord.
A day such as this, in which I endure
a measure of sickness or unease,
is a reminder that the redemption of all
things is not yet complete. It is a reminder
that this body will decline and one day fail,
and so it is also a reminder that the ways
I spend my days matter—for my hours,
revealed like veins of gold beneath a rushing
stream, are a limited resource to be
purposefully mined or forever lost.
A day such as this is a reminder that good
health and vigor are gifts to be consciously and
gratefully enjoyed, and to be invested while they
might, in eternal things. So let me finish this
day, O Lord, wiser than I began it.
Let me live now, in light of the knowledge
that a time may come in this life
when I feel such sickness and discomfort
for a long season, when I must adjust to a
“new normal,” when my abilities are limited
either by the slow decline of age
or from some accident, injury or disease.
Therefore let me use the good health that I have
while I have it, presuming nothing.
Let me use it to serve well, to love well,
to care for your people, your creation,
to spend my allotted days
delighting in your goodness manifest to me in a
million ways, and so to one day come to the end
of my days having stewarded them well.
Heal my body from this sickness,
O Christ My Healer.
Raise me again to health with a heightened
sense of thankfulness for the unmerited gift
of well-being, and also with a greater sense
of compassion for those who suffer lingering
ailment, disease, or discomfort. Teach me by my
own small sufferings to be a better minister and
friend to those who suffer greatly.
So let even the unease I feel today
work as your servant, accomplishing
your better purposes in me.