It sure seems like life as we know it is on hold.  And we are warned getting back to normal will be a “new” normal.

For many of us one of the difficult things have been those events postponed or cancelled.  Trips to see friends and family.  Conferences.  Meetings.  Some we are more heartbroken about that others.  But all these cancellations impact us in some way.

At St. Andrew’s, where I minister, we have managed to keep some things going (worship and Bible Study) on the website, but other things had to be cancelled.

The first to go was the Seniors tea party and sing-a-long.  Understandably so, our seniors need to be kept safe. The next to go was the First Responder’s Chili Cook-off.  That was harder to know if we had done the right thing, over a month ago when we decided who knew the storm would last this long.

So this morning my calendar alert reminded me that today was the Chili Cook-off.  And today I am staying home.  No rushing to the church to make gallons of chili to feed the public.  No setting up tables.  No preparing score cards for the submitted chili.

Yet we don’t have to cancel the INTENT behind the dinner.  Our intent was to honour the RCMP, the Firefighters, the EMS and Search and Rescue.  They are always putting their well being on the line to take care of our communities when we are in need.  Sometimes they take risks to rescue us from our own actions.  Sometimes they take risks because people intended them harm.

Sadly there are (and always will be) those who do not respect the work of those who keep public safety at the forefront of what they do.  But that work is what we need to respect and to honour.

More than that we need to honour that they don’t only put the community first in their jobs, they give to the community through the charities they support as well.

That was one of the reasons for a chili cook-off.  To highlight the charitable work all these first responders support, as well as the ways they volunteer and serve our community in so many ways.  The group with the winning chili would have won the pot from the donations the public paid for their bowl of chili,  to donate to their favorite charity.

So today I have 2 (well 3) requests.

  1. Take a moment to learn about the charities your first responders support in your community and make a donation to one of them.
  2. Pray for all those response teams, they need prayer now more than ever.
  3.  And while you are at prayer, pray for all those who work in hospitals right now.  Not just medical staff, but also cleaning crews, kitchen crews, maintenance staff and administrators.  They are all feeling the stress of the environment in the hospitals right now.

Let us all remember that those cancelled events are what we do for the safety and well being of our whole community.  It is our response to the need of our town and city.

As always let us pray.

COMMUNITY RESPONSE TEAMS

Call forth in us O God a deeper compassion for those who serve us every day.
Open our hearts to remember them in prayer every day.
Move in us a desire to give back to them.
Make us mindful of our need to do our part.
Unite us in the work of keeping our community safe.
Now and ever more keep safe all those who police, fight fire, rescue us, and heal us.
Invigorate them in their work.
Touch them with the strength of your Spirit.
You be ever with them in their daily rounds of labour.

Reach into them on difficult days to expose hidden strength
Envelop them in your arms when they are in despair
Strengthen them, always strengthen them
Protect them from the dangers around them
Open to them all moments of rest and deep peace
Nurture them with the thanks of the people
Serve them like the servant you are to us
Enter their hearts with your love

Touch everyone who cares for them and waits at home for them
Encourage them to trust you as they wait
Arm them with deep peace
Move in them to give them confidence
Show them that you are always with them.  Amen