All My Favorite People Are Grieving

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This morning we did a worship and prayer service around making “peace with loss.” Through prayers, songs, silence and the lighting of candles we remembered the many who have lost loved ones in the past year, and considered those who have suffered loss in other ways as well. In some of our planning, we realized that many have suffered loss this past year – 2010 has been difficult for many. And in making this observation it seemed timely to have spend time together sharing about this and preparing to move into a new year and invite new movements of the Spirit of God. This is part of our “Peace Month” that we are celebrating with other Northwest Yearly Meeting Churches. In working to make peace with loss we do some of the important internal work necessary to practice peace out in our world. Peacemaking is always this back and forth between the inner and the outward components of our lives.  (Here are the readings and prayers from this mornings worship service.)

During the service we invited people to come up and light a candle and say out loud the name of a person who they lost, or light one for a particularly difficult situation one faced in the past year. This was very moving to see take place and many came forward. I knew that there had been a lot of loss in our community, but until all the candles were lit I didn’t realize just how much. I realized just how many of the people we love in our church are grieving.

A woman came up to me after worship and said we need to do this every year at this time and that made me wonder if there are other special services we should be doing? Services for healing, forgiveness, confession, lament, etc? To disrupt the normal flow of what we do as a worshiping community and enter into a unique dialogue and prayerful setting may be a helpful way to practice some of the things we believe are important.

Another part of the service that I enjoyed was when we all listened to the song “All of My Favorite People,” my favorite track off Over the Rhine’s latest album called The Long Surrender. In preparing for today’s service I felt like Karin and Linford summed up here much better and more movingly than I could have done through any sermon. It reminds me that the church is made up of broken people, who embrace that brokenness and allow God to work in them and through them. It also reminds us that we need to rely on one another and offer support to one another. You can hear a version of the song below with the lyrics.

So for all of you who have suffered great loss in this past year, may the God of Light and Love grant you peace in the coming year. May you find grace even in the midst of struggle, and may you find the support and concern you need to make it through.

All My Favorite People by Over the Rhine

Here’s a video with Karin singing and the lyrics below.

via YouTube – All My Favorite People – Over the Rhine – 2010 Sunday Soiree.

All my favorite people are broken
Believe me my heart should know
Some prayers are better left unspoken
I just want to hold you and let the rest go

All my friends are part saint and part sinner
We lean on each other try to rise above
We are not afraid to admit we are all still beginners
We are all late bloomers when it comes to love

All my favorite people are broken
Believe me my heart should know
Awful believers skeptical dreamers step forward
You can stay right here you don’t have to go

Is each wound you’ve received just a burdensome gift
It gets so hard to lift yourself up off the ground
But the poet says we must praise a mutilated world

We’re all working the graveyard shift
You might as well sing along

Cause all my favorite people are broken
Believe me my heart should know
As for your tender heart this world’s going to rip it wide open
It ain’t gonna be pretty but you’re not alone

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Wess

A papa, Quaker minister, Phd in Intercultural Studies from Fuller, & prof. Contributor to Antioch Sessions. Angelic troublemaker & #sketchnote preacher. Enjoys #remix, liberation theology, bourbon & a wool vest.
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4 thoughts on “All My Favorite People Are Grieving”

  1. I had never heard of a service like you describe until a couple of months ago when, not being able to drive & not having a ride to my church, I walked to the local Methodist church. They do it every year, and it happened to be the time for it. It seemed a very meaningful observance, although of course I knew none of those who had died (or who survived, for that matter).

    1. Bill – I hadn’t either. But in our elder’s meeting a few weeks back someone mentioned it would be nice to remember all those who have suffered loss in the last year and so we put this together. But I think it’s something worth doing.

  2. That Over the Rhine song absolutely took my breath away when they came through the Troubadour in November. Forgot how much I love your blog, Wes!

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