The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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Prayers Inspired by the Pandemic, and Cosmic Contemplations…

June 10, 2020
This week we are featuring two very current prayers. The first was the prayer that inspired the IFCG to set up Words of Connection on an ongoing basis. It is Prayer for the Corona Virus Crisis written by Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah, of the Progressive Synagogue; it has been widely used since the outbreak of the pandemic. The second, entitled Prayer at the Time of Covid19 is by Stephanie Christopher.
We also have two spiritual, cosmic poems in praise of God. They are both pieces of exceptional vision; one is by Fr Ernesto Cardenal 1925-2020, the liberation theologian Nicaraguan Catholic priest, who died in March of this year. The second is by the 14th Century metaphysical Sufi poet and philosopher – Mahmud Shabestari 1288-1340. It is difficult to believe that Shabestari died 680 years ago… his poem is as fresh as if he wrote it yesterday.
In addition to this we have two superb Baha’i readings.
Once more, I would like to thank you for your appreciation and enthusiasm for Words of Connection. Please feel free to distribute these readings as you feel appropriate, and also feel free to contact me regarding Words of Connection. – I hope you are staying well and strong at this difficult time.


Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue

Eternal One, Rock of our lives, we turn to you in the midst of this coronavirus crisis, seeking refuge and a foothold – and also encouragement as we try to find our own courage.
As social distancing prevents us from experiencing the joys of life in community, may the need to withdraw and stay well be accompanied by the urge to reach out to others with compassion and care and to forge and renew connections, even in the absence of physical contact.
Recalling the trials of those who went before us and their endurance and survival, may we find the strength to endure even in the face of pain and loss, and the insight to know that this challenging time will pass.
As the natural world renews itself, may we be inspired by the wonders and marvels of the Earth to discover through this crisis pathways to renewal and new hope.
And let us say: Amen.


Stephanie Christopher

Let’s ask for clarity
On this grey gloomy day…
The sky above is blue
The shining sun is covered
And we are clouded over.

Let’s pray for clarity
So that we come to know
Just what we need
Just what’s divine
Not lost in lockdown,
Blurred, fogged up.

Together… let us part the clouds
And get a view that’s clear –
Of all things bright and beautiful
Those creatures, great and small.

It’s in the gloom
We need to see the sun
It’s in confusion
We need light and love.

Let’s share in prayer
Compassionate radiance –
Follow the light that shows the way:
Know what can be done – what helps
For you, for me, the planet
And above all — everyone.




Ernesto Cardenal 1925 – 2020


Bless the lord, Oh my soul
Lord my God you are great
You are clothed with the energy of atoms
as with a mantle
From a cloud of whirling cosmic dust
as on the potter’s wheel
You began to tease out the whorls of the galaxies
and the gas escaped from your fingers condensing and burning
as you were fashioning the stars
You made a spatterdash of planets like spores or seeds
and scattered comets like flowers…


Mahmud Shabestari   1288–1340

Every particle of the world is a mirror,
In each atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.
Cleave the heart of a raindrop,
a hundred pure oceans will flow forth.
Look closely at grain of sand,
the seed of a thousand beings can be seen.
The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;
In essence, a drop of water is no different than the Nile.
In the heart of a barleycorn
Lies the fruit of a hundred harvests;
Within the pulp of a millet seed
An entire universe can be found.
In the wing of a fly, an ocean of wonder;
In the pupil of the eye, an endless heaven.
Though the inner chamber of the heart is small
the Lord of both worlds
gladly makes his home there.



Do not wonder at the mercy and bounty of God.  Consider thou how one spark sets on fire a great forest. Therefore, there is great hope, and the favour and grace of the Almighty is limitless.


We work and pray for the unity of mankind,
that all the races of the earth may become one race,
all the countries one country,
and all the hearts may beat as one heart
working together for perfect unity and brotherhood