A note to 300 readers about my new book.

It isn’t fair to you to make this a place to sell (though I do that).

My commitment to you is to show up almost every day and help us both think about following Jesus, though the ways that thinking happens are varied. My life has variety. I reflect on it to understand how Jesus might live it. I do that reflection, at times, in writing. And some of that writing appears here. From time to time, it helps one or another of you, and most always helps me think.

Back to selling.

Every week I write a prayer to share in the hospital chapel and to share at 300wordsaday.com. I write it so that I can find the words to represent my and our hearts responding to the week, to the Word, to the weight of being in the hospital. If I waited until that moment at 10:37 each week, I could be lost in the death I just witnessed or the stroke that just arrived or other generalized chaos or anticipation. And so I write those words and then offer them to God on our behalf.

During 2019 and 2020, from Advent to Christ the King Sunday, those prayers reflected a growing awareness of COVID-19, of conversations and clashes about race, of growing division about political positions. I also prayed with and for my hospital co-workers in an internal video program, and I wrote here and elsewhere about the fear and frustration and hope.

Just as I did with the prayers of the previous year, it seemed to make sense to gather these prayers and reflections. Our daughter, Hope Swanson Smith, agreed to help me with the gathering and formatting and conversing about the structure (and she created the cover art). And so we offer you. God. We Still Need You: A Year of Pandemic Prayer and Practice From a Hospital Chaplain.

In the Afterword, my colleague, Jana Vastbinder, wrote about becoming a chaplain during this season.

In the Foreword, my boss’s boss at the time, Curtis Smith, talks about our connection in the middle of this year.

So here you are.

It’s a collection of prayers for people who want them all gathered together.

It’s a record of reflection of what happened during a year.

It’s an offering to my co-workers of what I was asking God for on our behalf.

It’s not really a book about the pandemic. That will wait for a few years of reflection. It is a collection of writing from within the pandemic, the public version of a journal.

I won’t make it the topic of our posts here, other than sharing some of the prayers that make sense. I will keep the link in front of you. And I will be writing more about the collection at socialmediachaplain.com.

Thanks for your support.