Good Friday: A Blessing for What Abides

Good Friday IIImage: Good Friday II © Jan Richardson

Reading from the Gospels, Good Friday: John 18.1-19.42

There they crucified him.
—John 18.18

What Abides
For Good Friday

You will know
this blessing
by how it
does not stay still,
by the way it
refuses to rest
in one place.

You will recognize it
by how it takes
first one form,
then another:

now running down
the face of the mother
who watches the breaking
of the child
she had borne,

now in the stance
of the woman
who followed him here
and will not leave him

Now it twists in anguish
on the mouth of the friend
whom he loved;

now it bares itself
in the wound,
the cry,
the finishing and
final breath.

This blessing
is not in any one
of these alone.

It is what
binds them

It is what dwells
in the space
between them,
though it be torn
and gaping.

It is what abides
in the tear
the rending makes.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace

Also for Good Friday . . .

Several years ago, Gary and I created a video that intertwines my Seven Last Words art series with Gary’s exquisite song “This Crown of Thorns.” I would love to share it with you. [For my email subscribers: if you don’t see the video below, click here to go to The Painted Prayerbook site, where you can view it in this post.]

Using Jan’s artwork…

To use the image “Good Friday II,” please visit this page at Your use of helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible.

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.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.

10 Responses to “Good Friday: A Blessing for What Abides”

  1. Emma Says:

    Thank you so much, Jan for this deeply moving poem. I have been following your seasonal writings for some time now, and your poetry always leaves me silent. Also this time. Wishing you a Blessed Easter.
    Warm regards, Emma

  2. Anish Says:

    Thank you for the blessings you share

  3. Sue Peterson Says:

    The blessing in the faces and hearts of those who stand by the cross–in the words of the one who hangs there—for love—for love of those who would know no other love without Him. The blessing of knowing that we risk this earthly frame when we love the “unlovely”–when we offer God’s blessing to the stranger, the cripple, the enemy, the hungry—when we recognize their needs as we see them through God’s eyes–through the eyes through which Jesus, the Christ, sees all our pain–and our joy–our hurts–and our healings.

  4. Diana Thompson Says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful blessing.

  5. Sue Mannshardt Says:

    Jan, you take my breath away with the depth of your “knowing!” Thank you so much, for sharing yours ad Gary’s video…Tonight I will be offering a Good Friday evening service based on the Seven Last Words…using the Scipture followed by a short poem/reflection on each word…Yours, together with your art and Gary’s song, is powerful in its simplicity.

    Might I presume to share this brief reflection that introudces this evening’s service:

    “Time to Grieve”

    We gather here
    In Sabbath preparation
    and to grieve
    with his disciples and friends

    We are all grieving something
    Or have been
    Or will be

    Loss of family member…
    Friend…broken trust…betrayal
    Or…even … God

    Reflect with us on this week…
    a microcosm
    of whatever time
    we need in our grief

    We can’t rush our feelings
    During these days
    Between our Hosannas
    and what…
    as 21st century Followers of the Way…
    we know…or presume to know…
    –sue mannshardt, 3/17/16

    Blessngs as we all go through this day and what follows with grief and sadness, joy and praise!

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Sue, thank you so much for sharing your reflection! So lovely. It speaks to me on this Good Friday, and on this path of grief and hope. I am grateful for you and am sending many blessings as you prepare for tonight’s service. May you have a joyous Easter to come!

  6. Sue Albright Says:

    Thank you Jan for sharing this video with us again this year. I re-read “Garden of Hollows” last night. So good to walk with you this Holy Week. Peace and love always, Sue

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Bless you and thank you, Sue! I am grateful for your words, and for you. Blessings and love to you on this Good Friday and always.

  7. Lynda Says:

    Jan, thank you so much. I have your book “Circle of Grace” and quite often share the blessings at a Bible Study I have in my home. Thank you for sharing the video. It touched me deeply!

  8. Jan Richardson Says:

    Friends, thank you so much for the gift of your words. As we move through this Good Friday, I am grateful for the thoughtfulness you bring to the path. Deep peace to you.

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