Tradition & Innovation

Who Has Kept Us Alive: Prayer for Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

man with brown hair and glasses and mask standing outside with eyes closed and arms open wide to bright blue sky

Holy One of Blessing,
I say the shehekheyanu prayer
for all the big and little “firsts”
the first day of school
the first meal in a new home
the first time seeing a friend after months have passed
the first night of a holiday
Every “first time” is a time to celebrate
the miracle of life

But as I receive the COVID-19 vaccine,
it feels like the first time I’ve ever said these familiar words
A shehekheyanu of shehekheyanus
a first that leads to other firsts
the first warm hug from a good friend
the first coffee shop conversation
the first in-person prayer service
the first standing ovation
after the first live performance
the first time my hands
touch the hands of another

I receive this first, this vaccine, in memory
of those who died from this disease,
the ones who no longer have firsts to celebrate
and in honor of those who worked while I quarantined:
essential workers, medical professionals,
those who risked their lives
to protect mine.

With gratitude to them, and to You,
for my survival in this time of death,
I promise to protect others,
and to bless the miracle
of every breath.

God, please help me remember
to never take another first for granted.

Blessed are You, Source of Life, Breath of the Universe,
who has kept us alive, sustained us,
and brought us to this season.

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