On Tuesday, May 12 – Florence Nightingale’s birthday – the world will celebrate International Nurses Day. In another year, this day of celebration might fly under the radar for many of us.

But in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re more aware of the heroic care that nurses and other healthcare workers have been providing for generations.

Recently the Rev. A. Joshua Peter, Executive Secretary of the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India (UELCI), sent a reflection on the particular roles that Christian nurses have played in that country, noting a study that shows that “more than 30% Indian Nurses are Christians, even though Christians are less than 3% percentage of the Indian population.” [source]

It also happens that nursing and other paramedical workers are given a low status, maybe because of religious and social traditions. Their hard and sacrificial service is less recognized in society.

During this time of COVID 19, the deadly pandemic shut the whole world. However, the health workers are on the only people who are on their toes running here and there and exposed to dangerous situations by serving people who are infected and affected by COVID 19…

We as a people live by the sacrificial service of the health workers by whom we are safe. But brutal incidences shows that we have not given the due recognition for their services, contributions and sacrifices.    

On one of the next two Sundays, either May 10 or May 18, Lutheran churches across India will be joining together to offer a special praise and thanksgiving for nurses and healthcare workers who work daily for the health of us all.

We invite you to join this service of restoration in your own congregation’s worship this Sunday or next. Below you’ll find the service being used by Indian Christians in the UELCI, printed in full:

A Service of Restoration

from the United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India

The Coronavirus global pandemic has rapidly transformed life as we know it for millions of people all over the world. For many, COVID-19 carries feelings and challenges of fear, anxiety, economic hardships, isolation, and many other stresses. There have been, to date, colossal death tolls during the 1918 flu pandemic that killed 50 million worldwide, the 2009 swine flu pandemic killed 150,000 to 575,400 worldwide. There has been greater national and international devastation during World War I and World War II.

But the COVID-19 brought its distinctive character: states of emergency, nationwide lock downs, travel bans, the closure of most public institutions, the schools, colleges, universities, religious worship places, the judiciary, and dire economic repercussions due to this devastating virus. Without a doubt, the loss of life and suffering caused by COVID-19 is tragic. Before it runs its course, it will have likely touched everyone in the world to one extent or another. But, as Christians, our response does not need to mirror the unrest and despair that those around us exhibit. 

“The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.”

Psalm 46:6

“The city of chaos is broken down; every house is shut up so that no one can enter.”

Isaiah 24:10

During this season of COVID-19 many nations, many people had experienced severe illness, death, and other tragedies. Our world is in need of healing.

“O Lord, I have heard of your renown, and I stand in awe, O Lord, of your work. In our own time, revive it; in our own time make it known; in wrath may you remember mercy.”

Habakkuk 3:2

We have a hope that transcends this world and our circumstances. Let us pray that God will use these chaotic circumstances to reveal Himself as the sole Source and Solution to all our problems. And pray that many will turn to Jesus Christ to find peace and protection amidst the chaotic conditions that are upon us.

A Litany of Healing and Restoration

O, come, let us worship and bow down before the Lord, our maker and Restorer.

 Our help is in the name of the Lord.

In peace, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the holy house, and for all who offer their worship and praise, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

Help, save, comfort and defend us, gracious Lord.

O Lord, our God, when the whole world is victim to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you and seek refuge under your protection.

Lord, have mercy and protect us

Gracious Lord, turn your merciful eyes towards us amidst this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distressed and mourn the death of their loved ones, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply.

Lord, have mercy and comfort the grieving hearts.

Gracious Lord, turn your merciful eyes on those who have contracted coronavirus and suffering in hospitals, and in the quarantined places, and those who are vulnerable stretch your healing hand upon them and quicken their restoration from their sufferings.

Lord, have mercy and grant them your healing, safety and protection upon them.

Merciful Lord, be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them.

Lord have mercy to stretch forth your mighty hand upon the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Merciful Lord, we thank you and praise you for the services of those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency and are risking their lives to save others. Protect and strengthen them in their services [the pastors or leaders of worship may name the doctors, nurses and other volunteers from the congregations or in the community].

Lord, have mercy upon them and support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Merciful Lord, be close to those who assist night and day, in controlling the spread of the virus, the security personals, sanitary workers, volunteers who are trying to help and support everyone [the pastors or leaders of worship may name the doctors, nurses and other volunteers from the congregations or in the community].

Lord, have mercy upon them and support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Gracious Lord, support national leaders, the [Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues, the State Chief Ministers and his/her cabinet colleagues] and all public officials, decision-makers that with wisdom, care and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the necessities of life and may devise social and economical solutions inspired by forethought and solidarity.

Lord, have mercy upon them and support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity, wisdom and guidance.

Gracious Lord, we thank you for the ministry of priests and pastors, [name the priests/pastors/church workers] who have sacrificed their lives while serving the sick in hospitals and clinics amid the coronavirus pandemic. We thank you for the dedicated service of our bishops [name of the bishop/president/church leaders] and pastors [name the pastor of the congregation] to the victims of the pandemic, laying down their lives following the footsteps of the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord, have mercy upon them and support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity, wisdom and guidance.

Merciful Lord, we thank you for voluntary and dedicated services in providing the daily necessities of life to the victims of lockdown, bless the local services of the congregations, NGOs, Hospitals, schools, and the volunteers.

Lord, have mercy upon them and support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity, wisdom and guidance.

Gracious Lord, be merciful on your children that soon the world will overcome the acute and drastic shortage of essential supplies, including personal protective equipment, diagnostics and clinical management.

Lord, have mercy upon them and support the effort of the leaders and WHO and grant them strength, generosity, wisdom and guidance.

Gracious Lord, bless all the efforts of the research institutions and experts soon to come up with the vaccine that will help overcome the pandemic and restore the people from the deadly virus.

Lord, have mercy upon them and support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity, wisdom and guidance.

Merciful Lord, we pray for the migrant workers who are undergoing enormous suffering, who are filled with anxiety, worried about their lives. Many migrant workers have been blocked in their workplaces. There is no transport home, with no wages to buy food and no shelter.

Lord, have mercy, be a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust them to your almighty care.

Merciful Lord, we pray for the people to be responsible to listen to the advice to protect themselves and mindful of their well-being and their neighbors’ well-being.

Lord, have mercy, be a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to your mighty care.

Gracious Lord and comfort of the afflicted, give assurance to all your children in distress and we pray that you will stretch out your all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can peacefully be restored to its normal path.

Lord, have mercy, be a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves in your mighty hand.

Gracious Lord, let your church be a sign of hope, comfort and love to all people during this pandemic.

Grant us your peace; Grant us your comfort; Grant us your healing and Restore us, O Lord. Amen

Benediction

The Lord who heals all your iniquity bless you and keep you;
the face of the Lord who heals all your afflictions shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the light of the countenance of the Lord who redeems your life be lifted upon you and give you peace.
Amen.

Author Dan Ruth

Dan Ruth is the executive director of LPGM and an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

More posts by Dan Ruth