A Door Between Worlds

A Gathering of SpiritsImage: A Gathering of Spirits © Jan Richardson

“Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living;
for to him all of them are alive.”
—Luke 20:38

I have long loved this trinity of days we are moving into: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls. They are a thin place in the turning of the year, a space where a door opens between worlds that often seem terribly far apart. In the wake of Gary’s death, this time of year has become especially tender and hopeful for me. More than ever, I am grateful for these days that invite us to remember that, in the body of Christ, death does not release us from being in relationship with one another.

As we enter into these days, I want to share this blessing with you again. It’s one I wrote shortly before Gary’s death, not knowing how much I would need it for myself, and how soon. But that’s how a blessing works: it moves within time and also beyond it, spiraling around to meet us in the ways we most need.

Wherever these days find you, I pray they will hold deep grace, wondrous solace, and a thin place where heaven and earth meet.

God of the Living
A Blessing

When the wall
between the worlds
is too firm,
too close.

When it seems
all solidity
and sharp edges.

When every morning
you wake as if
flattened against it,
its forbidding presence
fairly pressing the breath
from you
all over again.

Then may you be given
a glimpse
of how weak the wall

and how strong what stirs
on the other side,

breathing with you
and blessing you
forever bound to you
but freeing you
into this living,
into this world
so much wider
than you ever knew.

—Jan Richardson
from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief



Illuminated Advent Retreat

Registration now open!
December 1-27

I would love for you to join us for this new online Advent retreat! The Illuminated retreat intertwines writing, art, music, and community, creating spaces of reflection and rest that you can enter into from anywhere you are, in the way that works best for you. With an elegant simplicity, the Illuminated retreat fits easily into the rhythm of your days. Individual, group, and congregational rates are available.

Info & registration: Illuminated Advent Retreat


Using Jan’s artwork

To use the image “A Gathering of Spirits,” please visit this page at janrichardsonimages.com. (This is also available as an art print. After clicking over to the image’s page on the Jan Richardson Images site, just scroll down to the “Purchase as an Art Print” section.) Your use of janrichardsonimages.com helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!

Using Jan’s words
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.