A prayer for miscarried and stillborn children

Today we marked an early All Saints/All Souls, giving thanks for those who have gone before us, sharing stories about them, and naming some losses almost too painful to bear – including miscarried and stillborn children.

Loving God, we bring to you those
truly unacclaimed by earthly powers,
yet whose lives have indeed hallowed ours:
those who died in the womb;
those who died during birth. Continue reading “A prayer for miscarried and stillborn children”

Small ghosts, and how we remember them

Small ghosts trail behind so many families, invisible to the naked eye or the quick hello.

Rena bustles around her son’s birthday party, passing food and welcoming guests. During a lull, we chat. ‘Did you ever think of having another child?’ I ask. ‘Oh, we did,’ she says, voice suddenly rough, ‘but he died. He was eight weeks old. He got an infection, it entered his heart, and he died.’ I place my hand on her shoulder; there are no words. Continue reading “Small ghosts, and how we remember them”

Slow reading: In the vale of death’s shadow

Yesterday there were two funerals as two beloved young people, both killed in the same car crash, were farewelled in this region. I could pile on words of comfort and assurance. I could remind you that those who grieve are blessed; I could assure you that nothing can separate us from God’s love; I could recall the peace which surpasses all understanding, and which so many of us experience precisely at these moments of extreme need. But this week, I don’t think we need more words, just the balm of an old favourite. So let us rest in Psalm 23, and let the good shepherd minister to us all. Continue reading “Slow reading: In the vale of death’s shadow”

Becoming prisoners of hope

In this current moment, despair feels natural: but we are only partway through a story, and the ending has not yet been written. (Listen.)

Young Joseph had it all. He was his father’s favourite, a spoiled brat. He was given a beautiful coat with long sleeves: because no one expected him to do any real work, anything which required him to roll his sleeves up. He had vivid dreams which showed he would one day be top of the heap, and he had God-given interpretive gifts. He was on the wide road to success, power, affirmation, acclaim. Continue reading “Becoming prisoners of hope”

Neither death nor grief nor anything else can separate us from God’s love

We are in a time of tremendous grief and loss; yet we are assured that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. (Listen.)

I can’t count the losses. Sure, nobody I know has died; but I’ve seen my beloved father in the flesh only once in six months. Most of my friends I haven’t seen at all. My children’s schooling has been interrupted; activities are on hold; hanging out with their friends feels fraught. My oldest daughter is finishing high school, and nobody knows what the next year holds. Will there be work? Can she live in college? Will university lectures be face-to-face, or simply online? Continue reading “Neither death nor grief nor anything else can separate us from God’s love”

Trusting God’s life will prevail

The Apostle Paul said that if Christ had not been raised, then our faith is in vain. So what is resurrection faith? (Listen.)

Time after time after time it comes to this: Violence. Destruction. Despair. Death. This summer, Australia burned; yet the Victorian Government is logging state forests again. COVID-19 rampages the earth; countries are digging mass graves. Men murder their own wives and children, and are sympathetically described in the media. Powerful religious types support oppressive governments and corporations. Pell has his conviction quashed on a technicality. Millions die from tuberculosis and air pollution every year; vulnerable people are trafficked into slavery; and the world turns a blind eye. Violence, destruction, despair and death: they are never very far away. Continue reading “Trusting God’s life will prevail”

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