By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, October 5, 2017

59 people died after Sunday night's mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival. That level of violence affects all of us. Events of this magnitude invade our thoughts, permeate our prayers and take away our words. We are left speechless and in need of a word of blessing. I have found comfort this week in the work of Jan Richardson, a gifted liturgist, and artist. Her painting, "Holy Even in Pain" combined with her poem "Blessing in a Time of Violence" provide an appropriate spiritual reflection for this week. I invite you to consider the presence of God as you consider her painting and read through this blessing. 

Grace and Peace, 

Blessing in a Time of Violence

Holy Even in Pain

Holy Even in Pain

Which is to say
this blessing
is always.

Which is to say
there is no place
this blessing
does not long
to cry out
in lament,
to weep its words
in sorrow,
to scream its lines
in sacred rage.

Which is to say
there is no day
this blessing ceases
to whisper
into the ear
of the dying,
the despairing,
the terrified.

Which is to say
there is no moment
this blessing refuses
to sing itself
into the heart
of the hated
and the hateful,
the victim
and the victimizer,
with every last
ounce of hope
it has.

Which is to say
there is none
that can stop it,
none that can
halt its course,
none that will
still its cadence,
none that will
delay its rising,
none that can keep it
from springing forth
from the mouths of us
who hope,
from the hands of us
who act,
from the hearts of us
who love,
from the feet of us
who will not cease
our stubborn, aching
marching, marching

until this blessing
has spoken
its final word,
until this blessing
has breathed
its benediction
in every place,
in every tongue:


— Jan Richardson