Standing in solidarity, representatives of religious bodies offered supplications for Trinidad and Tobago and countries of the world confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. They affirmed trust in mercy and divine intervention to see the country through the crisis.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on March 26 declared a National Day of Prayer last Sunday to ask for God’s blessing “in a very difficult situation”. The two-hour prayer service at the chapel in Prime Minister’s residence, St Ann’s was carried on TTT and streamed online. Intercessory prayers were given by representatives of the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Orisha faiths.
Anglican Bishop Claude Berkley in the opening prayer said, “Almighty Merciful God in this season of fear, anxiety and sickness brought on by the COVID-19 disease we come to you for succor as one nation under your care.” Bishop Berkley and others prayed for the health of frontline workers in the battle against COVID-19 and for a cure.
“Hasten the processes leading to curative means for this disease and accept our prayers which we offer unto to your divine majesty for this nation in this time of COVID-19”.
Prime Minister Rowley shared a verse from scripture that has been a “constant thought”. It was from Isaiah 26:20 which he said prophetically stated, “Come my people enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you, hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by”. He gave the reading for the day, Ezekiel 37: 12–14.
In his reflection that followed Archbishop Jason Gordon said, “What that reading is saying to us is that there is a death that has happened, but God will not allow that death to be the final word. Death will give way to life”.
The lockdown, he continued, was an incredible moment for a people in a “metaphorical” exile to again connect with their families, for family members to show forgiveness and to reconnect via telephone or social media with members with whom they lost touch. He asked families to pray daily together, read scripture or “whatever sacred text you have”.
Maulana Atif Majeed Sulaimani, imam of the San Fernando Jama Masjid said, “You are our protector so protect us, grant us peace and safety, grant us protection against all the calamities, all the diseases especially against this COVID-19”.
Dr Stephen F Julien of the National Congress Incorporated Spiritual Baptists Organisations of T&T said that praises and thanks should be given to God. “The Lord tell me to walk with my bell… The Lord said don’t toll the bell of death or the bell of silence. Toll the bell of joy, there is peace Alleluia,” he said ringing his bell.
Dr Rampersad Parasram, dharmacharya Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, a former Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, was confident that with collective prayers and wisdom and uniting for right and proper action the country will overcome and emerge stronger for the experiences gained during the crisis “indeed after every crisis that has faced us in the past”.
Photo: Office of the Prime Minister Facebook Page