Tag Archives: Christian Ministry- Pastoral Resources

Review of The Grief Walk by Rev’d Bosco Peters

Delighted with this review by Rev’d Bosco Peters of Alister Hendery’s book The Grief Walk. https://liturgy.co.nz/the-grief-walk

“In 2014, I reviewed the Rev. Alister Hendery’s book, Earthed in Hope. That book was a New Zealand-based reflection on funerals – our context being much enriched by Māori (the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand) very down-to-earth approach to death. I heartily recommended that book.

This book, The Grief Walk, is the sequel and complement of the previous one. While the funeral is a very important part of grief, it is a gateway into the longer walk with grief.

This is a practical, down-to-earth book. It is is for people who are grieving, and for people who want to support them. That includes clergy, church leaders, and others.

Alister’s book is based on his years of experience as a priest, on his particular and open interest in death, funerals, and grieving, and on his studying of quality research in these areas – there is a good bibliography at the back of the book. His is a 40-year journey. Far too often, people present grieving as a one-way process with well-defined stages, concluding with something they call “closure”. I strongly reject such an extremely unhelpful model. Alister does also; he is clear that your grieving is unique to you.

Often, people of faith (and others) can present saccharine ‘solutions’ to grief that deny the searing pain of grieving. Alister’s book also eschews such an approach.

You can see the chapter topics here. Chapter 4, I think is central to Alister’s approach:

4 – Understandings and Misunderstandings about Grief

  • Our Loss and Grief is Unique – so Forget the Rules
  • There’s No ‘One Size Fits All’ – so Forget Stages in Grief
  • We Wax and Wane – so it’s Okay to Retreat from Time to Time
  • A Continual Presence Which can Ambush us – so Forget the Timeline
  • Continuing Bonds – So Forget about Having to Let Go
  • Grief Doesn’t get Closed Off – so Forget about Closure
  • Our Life has Changed – so Forget the idea of Returning to Normal
  • We Grieve in Our Own Way – so Forget the Stereotypes

This is followed by chapters including how we experience grief, how we can accompany a grieving person, God and grief, and the hope for the grieving person’s future.

If you are looking for one book on grief where you can be assured of being in safe hands, I cannot recommend The Grief Walk too highly.”

Order The Grief Walk: Print  or  eBooks

 

World is a challenging place

“The world is a challenging place and the future appears uncertain. We have a choice about how we respond – with despair or with hope.” From the sermon: Living with Real Hope

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 6

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 6

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

A Season of Transition (Poetry)

Summer is past, winter draws near,
autumn is a season of transition.
A time of preparation.
Epiphany is past, Easter draws near,
Lent is a season of transition.
A time of preparation.

The story is told of Jesus walking southwards
taking fateful steps from Galilee to Judaea.
A time of determination.
The story is told of disciples shocked and rejecting
predictions of death and resurrection.
A time of incomprehension.

Pilgrims excited, Passover coming,
commemorating past, anticipating future deliverance.
A time of celebration.
Chief priests worried, Passover coming,
remembering past, fearing future disturbances.
A time of apprehension.

Soldiers marching, Governor resplendent,
putting on display the might of mighty Rome.
A time of intimidation.
Man on a donkey, crowds shouting, “Save Us,”
waving palm fronds and throwing down their cloaks.
A time of acclamation.

A final supper, bread and wine shared,
words of encouragement followed by despair.
A time of betrayal and desertion.
Man crowned with thorns, hung on a cross,
words of forgiveness and promise spoken.
A time of suffering and sacrifice.

Women confused and afraid,
grave empty, angels present.
A time of hope slowly dawning.
A stranger joins mourners on the road to Emmaus,
his identity discovered in the breaking of bread.
A time of revelation.

From: Prayers for Southern Seasons: Poems and prayers for Christian worship and devotions. By Joy Kingsbury-Aitken.

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 5

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 5

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Prayer

God of goodness, gaps, and glitches
help us to see each other for what we are.

God of struggles, strengths, and strategies
help us to cope with what we have.

God of difficulties, disabilities, and delights
help us find joy in who we are.

God of individuality and invisibilities,
enable us to understand how life is harder
for some than it is for their peers;
Give us a readiness to ease difficulties,
remove barriers,
and create level playing fields

Bless us with the will to appreciate
the courage, creativity, and skills
required to live with impairment;
along with the discernment to realise
impairment is merely a fragment
of personhood.

Empower us all to live in fullness,
valuing what we have,
and knowing we are loved. Amen.

From: Lay Preaching Basics by Rosalie Sugrue (2018)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 4

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 4

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

33. A Farmer’s Prayer for Daily Work

O God, in the burst of spring growth,
let me rejoice.

In the first plantings of crops,
bring me hope.

In the summer heat,
shade me.

In the dried up hills
water me.

In the harvest work
sustain me.

In the big decisions
guide me.

In the autumn chill
warm me.

In the driving rain
shelter me.

From the howling winds
protect me.

In the slush and mud
encourage me.

In the lonely hours
stand by me.

In the beauty of each dawn,
let me wonder at your creation,
and the peace of the earth.

From The Shepherd’s Call – Te Karanga o te Hēpara:
Prayers and liturgies for rural Aotearoa New Zealand
By Bill Bennett (2018)

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Prayer / Poem of the Week # 3

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 3

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Costly Love

Martha
   the busy one
   whose natural way of showing love
was to cook, clean, serve
and she delighted to serve her Lord.

Mary
   the quiet one
   whose natural way of showing love
   was to listen, absorb
and she delighted to love her Lord.

Jesus’ friend Lazarus dies
beloved of his sisters – and their Lord away,
returning
meets Martha, first as always, breathless
“Lord, had you been here
    our brother would not have died!”
and Jesus consoles, teaches, explains.

Then Mary –
“Lord, had you been here
   our brother would not have died!”
…and Jesus weeps… and acts
the overwhelming love of Almighty God
leaping forth in resurrection power.

Lord –
take my love
I pour it at your feet
take my tears
   take my busyness
   take my stillness
may I serve you Lord.

(John chapter 11)

From A Celebration of Life by Meg Hartfield (2016)

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