Tag Archives: Christian spirituality

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.”

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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 # 24

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 24

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

The Limits We Place (Confession)

Philippians 4:13

In awe of you great God we offer up our praise,
and confess our sinfulness.
We seek forgiveness Lord, for the limits we place on you
and the limits we place on ourselves.

You call us to step out in faith. We ponder the likely consequences
of your call and decide you are asking too much of us,
forgetting that all things are possible
through the One who strengthens us.
We seek forgiveness Lord, for the limits we place on you
and the limits we place on ourselves.

God who is love, and who lovingly seeks
a relationship with all of humanity,
how often we fruitlessly struggle to grow your kingdom of love
by our own efforts alone, forgetting that it is your freely blowing Spirit
who sends forth your love into the world.
We seek forgiveness Lord, for the limits we place on you
because of the limits of our thinking.

God of inconceivable majesty and power
who cannot be contained within the universe,
how little we are in comparison to you,
yet how great our conceit when we think
we can determine what you can and cannot do,
and what can and cannot be.
We seek forgiveness Lord, for the limits we place on you
because of the limits of our comprehension.

In seeking your forgiveness Lord,
we also seek from you a greater faith.
A faith that will follow you,
even when the way ahead seems uncertain;
a faith that believes in your greatness
even though we cannot truly perceive your magnitude;
a faith that sees beyond present realities to future possibilities;
a faith like that required of Abraham and Sarah,
knowing that with you God there are no limits.
Grant us your forgiveness Lord,
and empower us with your Spirit
. Amen.

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 # 19

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 19

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

Prayer for the Otakaro-Avon River

We gather on the bank to pray for this river
that was here long before us,
and will continue to flow
long after we have gone.

Let us give thanks
for the snow-fed aquifers,
and the peaceful springs
that birth and sustain her life
every day, every moment;
and for the little streams and creeks
that make her stronger
as she flows through our city
towards the sea.

We celebrate the life that is within her –
the micro-vertebrates,
the inanga,
the eels,
the fish…

We rejoice in the beautiful birds
that grace her waters,
that she supports –
the waterfowl and
their songs that are heard
day and night
along her reaches.

We give thanks
for the sustenance she has provided
so generously, constantly
for the people of this place
ever since the first ones came here,
food for body, mind and soul
for generation after generation.

Yet our gratitude and joy
are coloured with sorrow
our spirits are troubled
as we can see with our own eyes
how polluted she has become,
how much she suffers.

We know that she is burdened
by what we have asked her to carry,
and she has lost much of her sparkle
her vitality, her spirit…

Her waters are polluted with the wastes
of the city, chemicals, effluent,
and a tide of human refuse,
debris from a careless throwaway society.

O Creator, forgive our lack of respect
our failure to love and cherish
this beautiful, life-giving river.

We have built a city around her
and asked her to do things
we should never have asked,
we have treated her like a drain,
a convenience, a waste disposable unit
for all the things we don’t want.

We know that it will take
a transformed city
to heal and restore her
to fullness of life.

Transform our hearts and minds,
change us deeply so that we begin
to take responsibility
for our abusive behaviour.

Holy Spirit, count us in,
give us the strength and wisdom,
the aroha and grace
to return the love and life
we have so freely been given.

As she has blessed
may this spirited river
be blessed
by all who live here.


— New Brighton 2014

From The In-Between Land: Psalms, Poems and Haiku by Mark Gibson (2015)

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