lift your voice – in laughter, in weeping

BLESSING THAT BECOMES EMPTY AS IT GOES

This blessing
keeps nothing
for itself.
You can find it
by following the path
of what it has let go,
of what it has learned
it can live without.

Say this blessing out loud
a few times
and you will hear
the hollow places
within it,
how it echoes
in a way
that gives your voice
back to you
as if you had never
heard it before.

Yet this blessing
would not be mistaken
for any other,
as if,
in its emptying,
it had lost
what makes it
most itself.

It simply desires
to have room enough
to welcome
what comes.

Today,
it’s you.

So come and sit
in this place
made holy
by its hollows.
You think you have
too much to do,
too little time,
too great a weight
of responsibility
that none but you
can carry.

I tell you,
lay it down.
Just for a moment,
if that’s what you
can manage at first.
Five minutes.
Lift up your voice—
in laughter,
in weeping,
it does not matter—
and let it ring against
these spacious walls.

Do this
until you can hear
the spaces within
your own breathing.
Do this
until you can feel
the hollow in your heart
where something
is letting go,
where something
is making way.


Quote: Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Image: “In the Emptying” © janrichardsonimages.com
(Inspired by Philippians 2)

Hope- with substance

IMG_2170

BLESSING OF HOPE

So may we know
the hope
that is not just
for someday
but for this day—
here, now,
in this moment
that opens to us:

hope not made
of wishes
but of substance,

hope made of sinew
and muscle
and bone,

hope that has breath
and a beating heart,

hope that will not
keep quiet
and be polite,

hope that knows
how to holler
when it is called for,

hope that knows
how to sing
when there seems
little cause,

hope that raises us
from the dead—

not someday

but this day,
every day,
again and
again and
again.


Quote: Jan Richardson
The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief

Image: “So That You May Know the Hope”
© janrichardsonimages.com

 

with many thanks to Jan Richardson

In the dark, in the light

 

‘while it is still dark’ Jan Richardson

The hours slowly past. The silence was deafening. After her Lord’s death, Mary and all those around her felt that creation had paused in inexplicable grief.

They were barely able to carry Jesus from the cross to a tomb before the Day of Preparation began. Mary was unable to perform the ritual bathing and anointing for burial and so she waited. In the silence.

At the start of the new day, before the sun began to rise, Mary ran to the tomb. It was still dark but her heart was heavy and her love great.

No one could have prepared her for the moments to come. Moments where the blur of vision before dawn caused fear, confusion and awe. Where had he gone? What was she to do?

She was brave and filled with conviction. Whatever had happened she would work to get answers. She would proclaim the truth before her. In his absence and his return, Mary remained open to God’s love however far away.

In the moments of dark-before-dawn Mary’s faith would be sealed.

While it is still dark

You hardly imagined
standing here,
everything you ever loved
suddenly returned to you,
looking you in the eye
and calling your name.
And now
you do not know
how to abide this hole
in the center
of your chest,
where a door
slams shut
and swings open
at the same time,
turning on the hinge
of your aching
and hopeful heart.
I tell you,
this is not a banishment
from the garden.
This is an invitation,
a choice,
a threshold,
a gate.
This is your life
calling to you
from a place
you could never
have dreamed,
but now that you
have glimpsed its edge,
you cannot imagine
choosing any other way.
So let the tears come
as anointing,
as consecration,
and then
let them go.
Let this blessing
gather itself around you.
Let it give you
what you will need
for this journey.
You will not remember
the words—
they do not matter.
All you need to remember
is how it sounded
when you stood
in the place of death
and heard the living
call your name.
Jan Richardson

Blessing the Dust

Blessing the Dust
For Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.


—Jan Richardson
“Blessing the Dust” appears in Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons.

Where light begins

WHERE THE LIGHT BEGINS

A Blessing for Christmas Day

Perhaps it does not begin.

Perhaps it is always.
Perhaps it takes
a lifetime
to open our eyes,
to learn to see
what has forever
shimmered in front of us—

the luminous line
of the map
in the dark
the vigil flame
in the house
of the heart
the love
so searing
we cannot keep
from singing,
from crying out
in testimony
and praise.

Perhaps this day
will be the mountain
over which
the dawn breaks.
Perhaps we
will turn our face
toward it,
toward what has been
always.

Perhaps
our eyes
will finally open
in ancient recognition,
willingly dazzled,
illuminated at last.
Perhaps this day
the light begins
in us.


Quote: Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

Image: “Where the Light Begins” © Jan Richardson