Prayer for the Grieving

Grief is an atmosphere 
miles high pressing down on us.
It is the air we breathe.
Loss is the country 
thrust upon us,
refugees from the land of
to have and to hold.
We do hold on, we won’t let go,
but it’s to memories 
not flesh and blood.
God, can we find you
in this fierce wanting?

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Death, Hope and Community: An Eternity Sunday Sermon Job 14, I Thessalonians 4:13, Romans 12:15

I was surprised to realize that in the verse that Handel used, Job was not talking about a Redeemer who would help him after death. No…Job is looking for redemption in this life. Handel’s aria uses the words of the King James Version, and Handel’s lyrics go,  “Though worms destroy this body…” I have always taken that to mean, “after we die…” But Job had some horrible skin disease, and the problem he actually had was that he had open sores with maggots in them!

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After the Funeral

The tears are shed
and the words are spoken
and the body, blessed,
is laid under six feet of cold ground.
We walk away reeling, at least inside,
holding each other together
all the way to the church auditorium
where we collapse
in front of tables filled with food….

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Easter Poem: Hope for the Shadow People

We are the shadow people who dance with death,
that great shade, our whole life long.
We try to run from its darkness,
we avoid it, we try to elude it.
But in the end we are always the shadow people,
hopelessly connected to death.
The darkness of death eclipses us.
Death hems us in, stifles us, stunts our growth,
it wants to kill us.
Crippled and cramped by this grave story
we long for a saviour
who sees our crooked shadows, our bent-overness….

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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