A Liturgy for Those Who Weep Without Knowing Why

How are you doing? No, really. How are you doing? How is it with your soul?
It’s been a difficult year, hasn’t it?
I think the underlying theme for 2020 is it’s okay to not be okay.

I wanted to share this liturgy with you. I actually don’t know how legal this is… but I’ll ask for forgiveness later.

It is from a book called Every Holy Moment. If this speaks to you, go purchase this collection of liturgies for every day moments.

There’s no right way to go through this liturgy.
You can do it on your own or with others. You can read it out loud or to yourself. You can read parts of it here and there. You can read the part that resonates with you over and over.

There is so much lost in this world, O Lord,
so much that aches and groans and shivers
for want of redemption, so much that
seems dislocated, upended, desecrated,
unhinged — even in our own hearts.

Even in our own hearts
we bear the mark of all that is broken.
What is best in this world has been bashed
and battered and trodden down.
What was meant to be the substance has
become the brittle shell, haunted by the
ghosts of a glory so long crumbled that only
its rubble is remembered now.

Is it any wonder we should weep sometimes,
without knowing why? It might be anything.
And then again, it might be everything.

For we feel this.
We who are your children feel
this empty space where some lost thing
should have rested in its perfection, and we pine
for those nameless glories, and we pine for all
the wasted stories in our world, and we pine for
these present wounds. We pine for our children
and for their children too, knowing each will
have to prove how this universal pain is also personal.
We pine for all children born into
these days of desolation — whose regal robes
were torn to tatters before they were
even swaddled in them.

O Lord, how can we not weep,
when waking each day in this vale of tears?
How can we not feel those pangs,
when we, wounded by others,
so soon learn to wound as well,
and in the end wound even ourselves?
We grieve what we cannot heal and
we grieve our half-belief,
having made uneasy peace
with disillusion, aligning ourselves with a
self-protective lie that would have us kill our
best hopes just to keep our disappointments half-confined.

We feel ourselves wounded by what is wretched,
foul, and fell, but we are sometimes wounded
by the beauty as well, for when it whispers, it
whispers of the world that might have been our
birthright, now banished, now withdrawn, as
unreachable to our wounded hearts as ancient
seas receding down some endless dark.

We weep, O Lord,
for those things that,
though nameless, are still lost.
We weep for the cost of our rebellions,
for the mocking and hollowing of holy things,
for the inward curve of our souls,
for the evidences of death outworked in
every field and tree and blade of grass,
crept up in every creature, alert in every
longing, infecting all fabrics of life.

We weep for the leers our daughters will endure,
as if to be made in reflection of your beauty
were a fault for which they must pay.
We weep for our sons, sabotaged by profiteers
who seek to warp their dreams before they even come of age.
We weep for all the twisted alchemies of our times
that would turn what might have been
gold into crowns of cheap tin and then toss
them into refuse bins as if love could ever be a
castoff thing one might simply be done with.

We weep for the wretched expressions of all
things that were first built of goodness and glory
but are now their own shadow twins.
We have wept so often.
And we will weep again.

And yet, there is somewhere in our tears a hope still kept.

We feel it in this darkness, like a tiny face, when we are told

Jesus also wept.

You wept.

So moved by the pain of this crushed creation,
you, O Lord, heaved with the grief of it,
drinking the anguish like water and sweating it
out of your skin like blood.

Is it possible that you — in your sadness over Lazarus,
in your grieving for Jerusalem, in your sorrow in the garden —
is it possible that you have sanctified our weeping too?

For the grief of God is no small thing,
and the weeping of God is not without effect.
The tears of Jesus preceded a resurrection of the dead.

O Spirit of God,
is it then possible
that our tears might also be a kind of intercession?

That we, your children, in our groaning
with the sadness of creation, could
be joining in some burdened work
of coming restoration? Is it possible
that when we weep and don’t know why,
it is because the curse has ranged so far, so wide?
That we weep at that
which breaks your heart, because it
has also broken ours — sometimes so deeply
that we cannot explain our weeping, even to ourselves?

If that is true,
then let such weeping be received, O Lord,
as an intercession newly forged of holy sorrow.

Then let our tears anoint these broken things,
and let our grief be as their consecration —
a preparation for their promised redemption,
our sorrow sealing them
for that day when you will take
the ache of all creation,
and turn it inside-out,
like the shedding of
an old gardener’s glove.

O Lord, if it pleases you,
when your children weep
and don’t know why,
yet use our tears
to baptize what you love.


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