NIGHT PRAYER: Tuesday 11/1

This Night Prayer anticipates tomorrow's feast,
    All Souls Day, November 2.
Indeed, the whole of November is kept as
    the Month of All Souls,
a special time to remember and pray for
    those who have gone before us...

Ah, November, Lord…

The gateway, in these parts, to shorter days and colder nights; to “the holidays” and all that they entail; to this year’s end and all the wonder, worry and mystery of what the new year holds in store...

But as in all things living, with the season there comes dying: this inevitable annual ending, sapping the strength of what was bright and beautiful, wonderful and warm…

Comes the harvest, then: a time for raking, burning, plowing under, waiting for the winter… then waiting through the winter…  then waiting for the waiting itself to finally end...

I don’t like the end of things, Lord: the dying, the loss, the giving up, the letting go…  I don't like the end of things...

My soul mourns the loss of summer’s warmth and grieves in seeing autumn, in all her beauty, sadly pass away…

I shiver in the chill November brings... And December’s pledge of colder days clouds my hope of spring…

Ah, November, Lord…

What other month might better bear the prayers we offer up for those who've gone  before us: precious leaves, fallen from our family trees…

All those holy souls: lost from this world, found and claimed by you, harvested for life that never ends…

Ah, November, Lord… the month to pause and face our loss of those we prayed might never go - but did…  the month to stop and face the truth: dying's part of living...   But after death there comes a time when we will know your reign of peace and find again the love of those we've lost, the ones who’ve gone before us… 

Ah, November, Lord…   the month of souls whose loss has touched our hearts in ways we cannot bring to speech - but bring to prayer - for you to touch with healing, with hope that sees beyond the summer’s end, beyond the fall, beyond the winter’s wait for spring and life that has no end...

We lift to you the lives and souls, our love and all our memories, of those who’ve gone before us...  In the quiet of our prayer, Lord, we lift them up by name…

(Take some time, in God's presence,
    to name, remember and pray 
        for family and friends who have died...)

We lift them up in prayer, Lord: welcome them in mercy to the place that you prepared for them, long before all time began... Hold them in your arms, Lord - hold them in your everlasting arms...

And shape our lives according to your word, that one day we might join them when your mercy brings us home to live with you in peace and in joy that has no end...

Protect us, Lord, while we're awake, watch over us while we sleep, that awake we might keep watch for you, and asleep, rest in your peace...


Tonight's musical offering is a little different: composer Liam Lawton reads a remarkably beautiful prayer against the background of simple music...

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My heart is numb 
The one I love has died 
And I have cried and cried
There is an empty space in my heart  
That I long to fill
As you wept for Lazarus your friend 
Your human heart was breaking 
Now I take your place

Lift the veil that I might see 
Beyond my grief 
Where love is pure and 
Light will reach beneath 
These empty walls
May no harm come to them 
They who have taken leave 
The pilgrims of Paradise 
May their journey be gentle
And blessed memory 
Lighten their way

May they see the glimmer 
Of Heaven’s light 
Calling them deeper and deeper
Into eternal beauty
May they recognize the kindly faces
Of loved ones, old friends and neighbors 
Who’ve gathered to greet them
And take them by the hand
To the land of eternal summer
And may they see you Lord 
As you are 
Radiant in beauty
With a gaze from beautiful eyes 
That will never ever leave them 
And may they know the sweet embrace
Of your soft, tanned hands
So Lord, in my empty moments
May blessed memory 
Be the bridge 
From my heart to Heaven
So rest in peace O gentle soul
Until that day 
When love will call us home

 - Liam Lawton





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