Word For Peace
By Mesha Oh
Serving God is one way of describing the purpose of human life.
Serving God through serving God’s creatures is possible everywhere and in any and every situation we may find ourselves in.
Today, much of the world is faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. In this situation, there are many ways people can serve God through serving God’s creatures. For instance, large numbers of people, including doctors, nurses and volunteers, are engaged in serving people who are afflicted with the COVID-19 virus, providing them medical assistance. Their bravery, commitment and compassion are truly impressive.
But what about many people—like me—who, for some reason or the other, are not engaged in this sort of service? The fact is that we—even those of us who are under ‘lockdown’ in their homes on account of the virus—can still engage in serving God through serving God’s creatures in many different ways.
Instead of thinking of how one can engage in such service using one’s own reasoning, it is good to seek God’s guidance in this matter. A good way to go about doing this is to make a request for this to God every morning after one gets up. One can make a prayer like this, “O God, please bless me with ample opportunities to serve You through serving Your creatures today. And, God, please lead me to avail of those opportunities in the manner that pleases You the most.”
Having made a prayer like this, we can hope that God will provide us many chances of serving Him that day through serving His creatures.
Here are some ways in which we can serve God through serving His creatures even while we may be under lockdown in our homes because of the COVID-19 virus:
- If we know of someone who has been afflicted by the virus, we can pray to God for them and their family. We can speak to them on the phone, if possible, and find out how they are doing.
- Every morning, we can take time off to pray for the welfare of all beings. For instance, we can pray, “God, please bless all beings with peace. God, please bless all beings with what is best for them.” We can send out loving-kindness for all sentient beings—humans as well as others. It does not take much time to make a prayer like this—even just a few seconds will do. The more time we spend on this, possibly the better.
- If we know of some reliable individual or organisation that is serving people afflicted on account of the pandemic, we can join in their work by sending them some money to be used for a good purpose.
- If we know of someone who has lost their job on account of economic setback caused by the virus, we help them financially, according to our means.
- We can call up our friends and relatives who may also be under lockdown and encourage them to think positively and not yield to despair.
- We can spread positivity and good cheer by wishing people we might come across, such as a neighbour or a home-help.
- We can use the time that we may now have at our disposal to strengthen our relationships with others, or to mend them if they have been damaged. For instance, in the past, we might not have spent enough quality time with a member of our family even while living under the same roof. We can use the opportunity that we now have to make amends, spend time with them and get to know them better. Or, we might have stopped talking with a friend for some reason. We can use the time we now have to restore our friendship by reaching out to them on the phone. Or, we might have wronged someone, and we can now get in touch with them and ask them for forgiveness.
- Not being able to go out of the house can translate into cutting down on unnecessary consumption. While that may not be a means for us to positively serve the natural environment (which is also created by God), it can be a means for us to cause less disservice to it than we otherwise might have. Consuming much less and avoiding non-essential spending can translate into a minimalist lifestyle, which is one way we can positively respond to the environmental crisis.
- Forwarding positive, uplifting WhatsApp messages or links to spiritually-oriented Youtube videos to one’s friends can also be a good way of serving God’s creatures.
I would like to share some recent personal experiences to illustrate how even while staying at home we can continue to engage in acts of service to God’s creatures. The purpose here is not to brag, but, rather, to share with others and inspire them.
- Some months ago, an aunt of mine passed away. I was not close to her, but, still, in her kindness, she willed a certain sum of money for me to inherit. Initially, I thought that I would set apart around a fourth of the money for charitable causes, but recently I changed my mind and decided that the entire money should be spent that way (After all, I hadn’t earned it through any effort on my part). So far, I have distributed a sizeable portion of the money, sending small amounts to various deserving individuals of economically vulnerable background as well as some to social work organisations. Being an advocate of ‘transfaith’ and ‘transethnic’ oneness, I am happy to report that the individuals that I sent the money to are from different religious and ethnic backgrounds.
- I am fortunate to be presently staying at a place where someone else cooks the food and supplies it to us. The quantity of food that we get is generally more than what we want or need. So, we started a practice of setting aside some of the food every day, which we then give to the security guard in the evening.
- God has blessed each of us with at least one skill. Writing is a skill that God has blessed me with. Sitting at home, I do occasional writing—mainly on positive, inspirational themes, such as the purpose of life and how to lead life more meaningfully—which I share with some friends.
- A friend of mine works with a magazine, and I help her out by sending her positive articles and information that I gather from different websites which could be of use to readers of the magazine. Another friend edits a spiritual, interfaith-oriented magazine, and he occasionally sends me items to edit. I regard interfaith understanding and harmony as a great need of our times, and I enjoy doing this service.
- Various opportunities for service come up every now and then. For instance, yesterday, I wrote out an appeal for support for an organisation that is doing really great work by providing food to the needy. The other day, I put out some food that we didn’t need so that some creatures or the other—ants or whatever—could eat it. And then there was a flying insect that I discovered in the kitchen recently and a beetle that I spotted while sweeping, which I put out of the house: hopefully, they are happy and safe!
Opportunities to serve God through serving God’s creatures are always available in plenty, even for those of us who, today, for some reason or the other, may be unable or unwilling to step out of our homes with the coronavirus pandemic raging around. Request God for guidance in this matter and, if it is His will, He will open up many, many avenues for you to serve Him through serving His creatures!