Blessings That Arise From Pain

Published by AV Coordinator on

Message by Rev. Michelle Scott-Huffman

Moment of Perspective – Silver Linings – AJ Fox

Today we are observing the Pulse Day of Remembrance. In what follows, there will be talk of gun violence and death.

According to the OnePulse Foundation “The Pulse Day of Remembrance is a day of quiet reflection and love dedicated to honoring the senseless loss of innocent life and remembering the horrible attack that occurred on June 12, 2016 at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida.”
It’s hard to think of such senseless violence and our theme Celebrating Blessings all at once. To that end, we’d like to share the writing of Jan Richardson, who is a writer of blessings, and her reflection on the tragic events of that night, and a blessing that she wrote that relates.
Richardson writes:
“I was in Ireland when the news came that in Orlando, where I make my home, 49 people had been killed in an attack at Pulse nightclub. It has been such a strange sorrow, returning home to a city so different than the one I left. And yet, watching the care and tenderness with which people have been turning toward each other in the wake of staggering violence, the city seems in many ways even more itself, in that beautiful and terrible way that grief has of bringing to the surface what is deepest in us.
From Ireland, after hearing the news, I shared the “Blessing in a Time of Violence” that I wrote last fall, and I grieved how timely the blessing is, again and again. It has been wonderful and awful to see how that blessing continues to travel, and to hear from folks who, searching for words on the heels of yet another fresh horror in the world, are finding the blessing for the first time.
It is a new week. I enter it with trepidation, wondering what news the coming days might hold. I enter it with wild and stubborn hope, praying we will, in the best possible ways, become even more ourselves.
I am entering the week, too, with another blessing on my mind…I want to share the blessing with you. In every place where a world is ending, may we turn toward one another with wild and stubborn hope.
Blessing When the World Is Ending
Look, the world
is always ending
the sun has come
crashing down.
it has gone
completely dark.
it has ended
with the gun,
the knife,
the fist.
it has ended
with the slammed door,
the shattered hope.
it has ended
with the utter quiet
that follows the news
from the phone,
the television,
the hospital room.
it has ended
with a tenderness
that will break
your heart.
But, listen,
this blessing means
to be anything
but morose.
It has not come
to cause despair.
It is simply here
because there is nothing
a blessing
is better suited for
than an ending,
nothing that cries out more
for a blessing
than when a world
is falling apart.
This blessing
will not fix you,
will not mend you,
will not give you
false comfort;
it will not talk to you
about one door opening
when another one closes.
It will simply
sit itself beside you
among the shards
and gently turn your face
toward the direction
from which the light
will come,
gathering itself
about you
as the world begins
—Jan Richardson

The Happy Farmer
From “Album for the Young” by Robert Schumann
Public Domain
Performed by Colleen Appel

Mother Earth, Beloved Garden
Words and Music by Amanda Udis-Kessler
Permission Granted
Performed by Paul Pharriss, Rebecca Holt, Luna Hamburg, and Emily McKinney

The closing words are Worship Need Not Cease, by Gordon B. McKeeman.

Worship need not cease.
It can echo in our lives,
in our words,
in our deeds,
in our moods,
in our dreams.
Carry worship with you wherever you may go.
Be a blessing in your going out and your coming in.