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Word for Word 4/19/17

As a Lenten practice I’ve been trying to read poetry for my morning meditation and was recently moved by “Blessing for a Broken Vessel” by Jan Richardson. It reads: Do not despair. You hold the memory of what it was to be whole.

It lives deep in your bones. It abides in your heart that has been torn and mended a hundred times. It persists in your lungs that know the mystery of what it means to be full, to be empty, to be full again.

I am not asking you to give up your grip on the shards your clasp so close to you,

But to wonder what it would be like for those jagged edges to meet each other in some new pattern that you have never imagined, that you have never dared to dream.

This poem was written for Holy Saturday, that day between the pain and despair of Jesus’ crucifixion and the mystery and joy of the resurrection and it brought to my mind what it has felt like when I have experienced a significant loss in my life – a death of a family member, the loss of a job, a dear friend deep in the fight against addiction. It’s the feeling that shows up once I venture out into the world again. Even though my world feels like it has been ripped apart, turned inside out and upside down, the rest of the world keeps spinning as if nothing has changed. It’s an eerie feeling, a lonely feeling. And it’s in those moments that I often feel the need to hold my grief, my brokenness, a little closer to my heart as if to protect it from leaving me too soon.

But there’s something hopeful about the image of creating a new pattern from the brokenness. Recognizing that the broken pieces that we hold onto don’t have to stay broken. Acknowledging that we can allow them to be re-shaped and transformed.

I don’t think this means we should ignore the pain and the loss. Grief is important and meaningful. But this image points to hope and healing, to something unimagined. Something that only the imaginative spirit of God could co-create with us. Whether our feeling of brokenness is externally caused by an event or an internal feeling of self-doubt and insecurity, we can open ourselves up to God’s healing and creative grace. Who knows, maybe something beautiful is germinating in the darkness, like the bulb in the soil just waiting for the light to bring it to life.

Blessed Easter!
Pastor Samantha Houser
Zion UCC, Waukon


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