The final post in a weekly Lenten series exploring themes of human frailty and suffering through music, story, and art. This week’s post features art by Brooke West and Trillia Newbell’s reading of “A Liturgy Before Mourning with Those Who Mourn,” from Doug McKelvey’s Every Moment Holy, Vol. II.
An Image: Flower by Brooke West
Brooke reflects on the inspiration for this piece:
This piece was inspired by Gungor’s song “Beautiful Things.” I was experiencing a particularly lenten season in my life, feeling the dark heaviness of my circumstances. In creating this piece, I was able to grieve things that I couldn’t find words to express and lean into the hope that God makes beautiful things from my dust.
“All this pain—Brooke West
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change, at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come out from this ground, at all?
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found, in you”
A Liturgy Before Mourning with Those Who Mourn
Leader: O Christ Acquainted
with All Our Griefs,
People: prepare our hearts to enter now
this space of grieving.
O God of All Comfort,
Lead us humbly into this place of heartbreak.
O Spirit Who Moves
in the Midst of Our Sorrows,
Fill us with a right compassion.
Fill us with a right compassion that
we would not cross this threshold
armed with easy answers,
but would enter instead
bearing the balm of a divine tenderness
best expressed in honest affirmations
and small acts of service.
Teach us even in this hour, O Lord,
how better to mourn
with those who mourn,
that their burden
might in some way
be made more bearable
by our sharing in it.
O Lord, in this place of holy sorrows make us
quick to listen, and slow to speak,
reminding us how the only true comfort
Job received from his friends
came not from their many words
but from a willingness to sit with him
in a silent sympathy of weeping.
So let any spoken comforts we offer
be the fruits of a real and costly fellowship
with those who grieve.
The sharing of such sorrows is indeed
a good and holy work, O Lord.
For you also, Jesus, willingly entered
the wounds of this world and wept
with your creatures in their brokenness.
And you have promised us
that wherever your children gather
in your name, you will be present as well.
So be present with us now
in this wounded space,
O Spirit of God.
Let our presence be sensed as a token
of your presence.
Let our concern bear unspoken witness
to the redemption your love
will one day work, even unto
the utter and unimaginably glorious
reversal of this loss.
Now speak, act, and comfort, O Christ.
Shepherd us into the sharing
of this sorrow.
May our hearts be as your heart here,
our voices as your voice,
our hands as your hands,
our tears as your tears.