Recently, I got the joyous news that members of my congregation had received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine. To say that I was delighted is an understatement, and I’m sure those of you who have been able to get the vaccine might have found yourself with a sense of the gravitas of the moment. After 10 months in a pandemic, the first view of light might be appearing at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
I decided to write a prayer that I hope will be open to a variety of beliefs to be recited upon receiving the coronavirus vaccine. Even those who want to name their hopes and intentions with the universe but eschew traditional belief structures might find it useful. It is my belief that everything – from the most mundane to the most awe-inspiring – is spiritual, and as humans we crave ritual signposts to mark the significance of the quotidian and extraordinary.
My hope is that it might be useful to you, Evanston, and that you will feel empowered to change any of the language that doesn’t work for you. My other hope is that, in an era when religious communities can sometimes be skeptical of the vaccine, having religious language to celebrate it might encourage someone to get it that might not have otherwise.
A Prayer on the Occasion of Receiving the Coronavirus Vaccine
Sustainer of All,
Hold me in your care as I receive this vaccine,
The work of scientists, the labor of healthcare professionals.
Bless the swirl of molecules and antibodies,
the mystical give-and-take of my body.
Remove from me fear,
For many have gone down this path before me,
And many shall go after me.
You made all things, and called them good.
Open my heart to gratitude,
Even in the midst of much suffering.
I give thanks for this jab,
A strange way to receive a blessing.
Stir my conscience to consideration of others,
That I may not forget my mask just because I am protected.
Remind me of my obligations to my community and myself,
And give me courage to receive my next dose.
Awaken me to vulnerability,
While I am a soul of light, I am an embodied being.
Draw near to me this day,
As I choose to celebrate life and community.