When you need words to help people grieve.

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Every Moment Holy, Volume 2, Death, Grief, and Hope
Douglas McKelvey

We are familiar with liturgies, such as a funeral mass, a Sunday service, a wedding. Those are collections of biblical texts and prayers, formed across centuries. This work from Douglas McKelvey is a collection of original liturgies for difficult times, particularly around sickness and death. They can be used as short bed-side services, prayers to read to families or patients or each other, the basis for funeral services, or any times when we need words when we have none. They even have value for our own times of reflecting and grieving.

There are a few dozen of these liturgies. This list gives you a taste of the range of moments included:

“Before a medical procedure”

“For those facing the slow loss of memory”

“For the speaking of meaningful things.”

“Before ending life support”

“For the loss of a close sibling.”

“For one responsible for an accidental death”

“To begin a family gathering after a loss.”

What I’m grateful for as I read these is that the writer gives voice to the pain and uncertainty and grief in these moments. It is as if he spend time with those of who are chaplains and pastors engaged with pastoral care in hard health moments, watching us help and then writing the prayers.

Because I write prayers myself, I understand the challenge and appreciate his thoughtful success.

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