Let The Church Brokenhearted Sing

Today I attended the funeral of a dear friend, a life cut short, but lived so well. Last night, I got a message from a friend who was in lockdown on the campus of Seattle Pacific University, the site of another school shooting. In the evening, students gathered to pray on the lawns as their classmates struggled for their lives in a local hospital. Today’s service was beauty and grief intertwined—as a colleague, friend and spiritual director said to me, “This sucks. And this is glorious.” Something that our friend herself would have said, I’m sure. As I wept and sang the songs of worship that she loved, I was filled with the reality of how music becomes our Pentecost reality—speaking across nations and cultures, tongues and tribes, theological interpretations and views on Scripture. It was a holy place, and out of it comes this prayer, for me, for us all, as we commemorate Pentecost this Sunday.


A Prayer for Pentecost Day
on the occasion of the funeral of my friend, Heather

Let the Church brokenhearted
sing. Not in triumph as we enter
the gates of the city, waving our
victory like so much oppression. Not
in despair, downtrodden, exiled and
wailing for the rivers that ran sparkling
through our camps. No. Let the Church,
brokenhearted sing
hope through our pain, though
death come, though
we grieve and mourn, wearing ashes
that betray the tracks of our tears, let
the bright tongues of fire alight over us
as we sing in the tongues of all
created things yearning toward home,
let us sing the songs of Pentecost believing
that holy language will visit us, that we will
become a bright flame of love, our grief
burning into something beautiful.

Oh, yes.

Let the Church, brokenhearted,


With Loud Cries and Tears by Jan Richardson

image source, used by permission