The Quietest of Hopes

Every journey ends,
and this prayer is for our friends
who know their lives are waning.
Friend of the dark garden,
you know the regrets,
the reluctance, the gloomy fears
that shake our very souls.
Anxiety about our bodies’ demise
consumes us,
Thank you that even
as we feel most desolate,
your comfort finds us.
We do not kneel alone.,,,

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The Wrong Good-bye

This is the wrong good-bye.

At thirty, death stands on the threshold

ghoulish as an x-ray

staring straight through all our hopes and plans.

We will not welcome this grim usher

who comes before the play’s half-done.

 Against the injustice,

against the desperation,

against the running out of time,

against the fear of my body’s demise,

against all these,

Love stands.

We crave your presence, Lord,

even in the wrong good-bye.

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God at the Last

At the last kiss,

at the final true laugh,

at the bottom of the body’s decline,

at the mind’s last conscious thought,

at the moment when love vanishes,

at the end of all remembering,

be the God at the last.

Be the God of wrinkled bodies and stooped shoulders,

the God of vacant eyes and open mouths,

the God of incontinence and shaking.

Be the God who holds the hand,

the God who soothes the brow,

the God who whispers words of comfort

and the God who hums a lullaby

until the last sleep falls.

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Dementia 1

Today I’m praying for one

imprisoned in their own mind,

locked behind bars of anguish

that no key can open.

Are you the God of the disordered mind?

Do you watch as ropes of anxiety

already tight pull tighter still,

making death seem a sweet release?

When being is misery, Lord,

the gift of life is torture.

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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 www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

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