Healing & Hope

What words bring healing?

What words instill hope?

Stark and welcome pines,
with louvering black trunks,
allowing shafts of sun
to spill across our path
as we wend our way south.

You remind us
there is no total darkness,
but always a shaft of
Now, then, again,
as we make our way through life.

We give thanks mother,
for your reminders in nature….
That there is always hope,
always another shaft of light
to make us blink and feel alive.

–reflection on a roadside pine forest as we travel south
October 2009

Inside hopelessness
Nothing more,
impossible to be less
silence, deafening
Only fears and despair
Echoing off cavern walls
I’ve been there,
lived there
Have you?
A hole so deep,
so cold
No one to hear the screams
longer the stay
deeper it becomes
The darkness becomes thick
Suffocating hopes
Choking out dreams
eyes scan the darkness
Searching for light
Searching for escape

it happens
So small, almost missed
Like the tide as the moon rises
Darkness begins to retreat

What is it?
What is loosening the grip,
The stranglehold,
The suffocating power
Of darkness?
This tiny beam of light
Boring its way through the thick fog
Is hope
Like an ant,
Small and overlooked
Carries with strength ten times its size
You reach out to it
Desperate to escape
The ground slips underfoot
Fearful thoughts tug at ankles
Pulling deeper into the mud
A voice, far in the distance
“stand there
Stand on that rock”
feet firmly planted
standing tall
Faith, Steadies weak knees
Raises higher
Light brightens
The darkness becomes shadows
Still looking up
Longing for a rope
A ladder
A hand
To pull up and out
The voice calls again
Where? You ask
I am stuck here
In the hole
With the darkness
Eager to come back
To strangle
To suffocate
You hear again
Looking down
Toward the cavern wall
a place
Where shadows have retreated
Where hope’s rays have landed
You take a step
The rock of faith
Stretches out in front
Firm, supportive
With each step
Hopes shines brighter
The darkness, fringed
Looking back
It becomes clear
There was never a hole
Never a cavern
Never an inescapable abyss
It was only the darkness
A prison of its own
Lifting up hands
Beams of light from your fingers
You hear the voice say
With each step
Hope shines
Beams of light
Into the dark prisons
Scorching out darkness
Melting cold grips
Like the guard with the keys
Walking along an endless row off dark cells
And glancing behind
Beams of light
Shine in all directions
We shall all be free
Free of the despair
The silence
The loneliness
For when we each walk
Grounded on our faith
Bearing our light
We become hope for others
Hope that shines
Hope that encourages
Hope that brightens
So that one day
Perhaps, soon
The prison will be empty
The fear will be gone
And hope shines upon
All whom the darkness threatens
The hope
Of our world.

Written for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Cairn Christian Church, Lafayette, Colorado

Dearest Friend, gentle Spirit, breath of live, source of our being, from the peacefulness of silence, the silence that preceded Creation, your Word entered the void and said, “Let there be light.” This afternoon we sit mindful that we are kin and covenanted to that Word and to your light. We are grateful to you, source of our being.

Yet even as we are bold to come before you with our prayers of petition for peace, we are mindful of our shortcomings. And so…first things first. You are slow to anger and quick to forgive but let us not take advantage of your gracefulness and mercy, rather let us freely confess our sins.

We have failed to do those things which you would have us do, and we have done things that you would not have us do. Dearest Friend, give us a moment as we collect our thoughts and offer up to you our sins in this moment of silence.

Gentle Spirit,

Hear our prayer.

Loving Spirit, you call us into fellowship with you and with one another. We lift up to you our broken relationships, broken relationships amongst family, amongst friends, amongst acquaintances with whom we harbour a hard heart. Be patient with us as we pause, and focus on specific broken relationships where our hearts need softening in order to mend the relationship and softened that our hearts might be healed in us from our sin. Again, in this silence we offer up to you our trespasses and transgressions.

Gentle Spirit,

Hear our prayer.

Loving Spirit, we trust that you are loving and generous with mercy. We bask in your light, assured of your forgiveness and love.

With that done, we pray for peace. We pray for peace amongst the nations. Help us to cease our warring madness. May we no longer send our young men and young women to foreign lands to fight for what, we are not sure. We are told, or we tell ourselves, that it is for national security. How feeble our faith must be in you if in our need for security we must send our youth armed, off to other lands to kill other people that we might be secure.
Our lives are more than just a hand-full of years, three score years and ten. Strengthen our resolve to put our trust in you. We pray for peace in conflicted countries around the world. We pray for [Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland and North Korea] to name but a few. May we work for health, wealth and justice for the peoples of these lands and for justice for all the peoples of the world, for all your children, our sisters and brothers.

In the silence of this moment, hear our individual prayers for peace.

Gentle Spirit,

Hear our prayer.

Finally, we pray for peace in ourselves. We know people afflicted with physical conflict. Some of us, ourselves, suffer from the conflict of illness and aging. Perhaps the outcomes of these conflicts will not be what we desire. We realize that sometimes disability or even death follows illness and not our longed for healing and recovery. Help us to remember that nothing can separate us from your love, not death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers nor things present nor things to come, nor power, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from your love. Bear with us, as we wrap our minds around your constant, steadfast love which surrounds us no matter what our conflict.

Gentle Spirit,

Hear our prayer. Amen.


By Ana & Tod Gobledale, written for the Healing Service of the Order of St Luke, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2005