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 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 All around, Hope is springing up from this old ground Out of chaos life is being found, in you” —Brooke West
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.