For Those Who Walked With Us


Image: A Gathering of Spirits © Jan L. Richardson

Here in Florida, our summer weather has extended well into October this year. The temperature finally did drop noticeably near the end of last week—on the precise day that Gary and I left the state to head to California, where we were leading a weekend retreat and Sunday worship with the marvelous community at Los Altos United Methodist Church. Not surprisingly, we had beautiful weather there, so we didn’t feel shortchanged. It’s warmed up again now that we’ve returned home, but even so, there’s a shift in the light and in the feel of these days that lets us know that autumn is arriving at last.

I’m especially loving entering into this week that holds some festive days. I’ve written here previously (Feast of All Saints: A Gathering of Spirits) that the trinity of days of Halloween, the Feast of All Saints, and the Feast of All Souls has long been a favorite time for me—a thin place in the turning of the year. These days are haunted for me in a good way; they offer an occasion to remember, to reflect, and to offer thanks for those who have shaped my path by the path that they walked. These days remind us that in the body of Christ, death does not release us from being in community with one another.

In celebration, I’m offering a blessing that I wrote for an All Saints reflection in my book In Wisdom’s Path. I’m thrilled to share that the splendid composer James Clemens used this blessing for a beautiful choral setting, which was published this year by World Library Publications. You can listen to a gorgeous sample by going to this page on the WLP website, then clicking the “listen” tab (by the “use” tab).

As you listen, and as you move through this week, who lingers close in your memory? Who walked with you in a way that inspired and made possible the path that you travel? Remembering that in these days, the veil thins not only toward the past but also toward the future, how are you walking through this life in a way that will help make possible the paths of those who follow?

Blessings to you in these sacred days.

For Those Who Walked With Us

For those
who walked with us,
this is a prayer.

For those
who have gone ahead,
this is a blessing.

For those
who touched and tended us,
who lingered with us
while they lived,
this is a thanksgiving.

For those
who journey still with us
in the shadows of awareness,
in the crevices of memory,
in the landscape of our dreams,
this is a benediction.

For a related post and blessing, visit On the Eve of All Hallows at my Devotion Café blog.

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! Just scroll down to the “Purchase as an Art Print” section when you click the link to the image on the JRI site.) 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. If you’re using them in a worship bulletin, please include this info in a credit line:
© Jan L. Richardson. janrichardson.com.

14 Responses to “For Those Who Walked With Us”

  1. shelia Says:

    I have missed your posts! Thank you for returning.

  2. Carol J. Dennison Says:

    Hi Jan and thank you for your beautiful words! This post and its links are deeply moving. Thank you as well for a previous post “A Blessing in the Dust” which spoke healing to me in a leaving. Blessings to you, your husband and your work. Thank you.

  3. Sue Albright Says:

    Jan, Thank you for this wonderful blessing. And when it is put to music = wow! You have an incredible ministry and I am thankful to be able to share in your blessing! Peace.

  4. Cynthia Vrooman Says:

    You are amazing. We love your poetry, your prayers. Peace and hope.

  5. Ruth Williams Says:

    Beautiful. Just had to re-post on my blog. Thanks for this inspired prayer!
    http://ruthwilliams.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/for-those-who-walked-with-us-by-jan-richardson/
    Peace & Blessings, Ruth Williams

  6. Jim McWhinnie (Brother Anthony of the Cross) Says:

    Jan,

    Of all the beautiful pages of the PrayerBook, this possibily is the one I most cherish. I visit it often.

    jim

  7. Kenneth W Wheeler Says:

    For those who walked with us. Moving and powerful. Thank you.
    Reverend Kenneth W. Wheeler, retired

  8. DeAnn Miller Says:

    This is a beautiful blessing, my father just passed away on Oct 4th so it holds a deeper meaning for me. My mom and are looking forward to All Saints day this year at our church, it will become a part of our healing. My father was in hospice so family and friends were fortunate to spend some very sacred last days with him. He is with his Lord now at peace and no longer ill, God Bless and keep us all in the remembering.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      DeAnn, thank you, and blessings to you and your family as you remember and grieve and celebrate and heal. I wish you and your mother much peace, this day and always.

  9. Bev Wilson Says:

    Thank you, Jan….and the choral piece set to you words is beautiful.
    I appreciate you helping me mark the feasts and celebrations of the
    special days with your art and words.

  10. Jan Richardson Says:

    Friends, thank you so much for the gift of your words! I am grateful for your thoughtfulness. Blessings to you on this Feast of All Saints!

  11. Susan Maybeck Says:

    Jan,
    I just had read your poem/prayer on the Inward/outward site. Then I opened your e-mail and found it again. I have copied it to put in my journal. God works in mysterious ways! Always.

  12. Mary Beth Packard Says:

    Jan,
    You hit the right spot for me in the “looking forward” comments, as I too am looking forward to see what retirement holds. After three months of being retired, the new house is finally liveable and I’m getting over the shock of retirement when I wondered who I was and who I will be. I’ve finally associated with a church here in Bartow and will actually serve communion once again tomorrow. I’ve also been commissioned as a Guardian ad Litem in this judicial district and expect to be assigned to one or more children in the coming week. With God’s help I will represent them well in the courts and in life.
    Thanks for reminding me that the future is included in All Saints Day.

  13. Gerry Gospe Says:

    This Advent, my map has altered it’s focus this very day. Gary and all those who have travelled across the veil toward The Holy this year rise up to welcome the new-be saints as they glide into another phase of being. And for those of us who mourn, let us be comforted we are not alone, and neither are our loved ones.

    My map leads me where no GPS can fathom, only to be in the moment of waiting in faith, hoping in love, forgiving in trust.

    Thank you , Jan and Gary. Blessings and Prayers.

    Gerry Gospe

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