Good Friday: Still

Image: Still © Jan Richardson

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

They took the body of Jesus.
—John 19.40

All too quickly the breaking of the bread becomes the breaking of the flesh.

All too soon the cup offered at the table becomes the life poured out at the cross.

After the rending, after the emptying: an impossible stillness, an aching silence, an incomprehensible hollow for which no word will ever be adequate.

And now? How will we meet this silence? What will we do with this ache?

For Good Friday

This day
let all stand still
in silence,
in sorrow.

Sun and moon
be still.

be still.

the waters.

the wind.

Let the ground
gape in stunned

Let it weep
as it receives
what it thinks
it will not
give up.

Let it groan
as it gathers
the One
who was thought
forever stilled.

be still.

and wait.


—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

For a previous reflection, click the image or title below.

Good Friday: A Blessing for What Abides

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 “Still,” please visit this page at (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 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.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.

7 Responses to “Good Friday: Still”


    Jan, you are an incredible blessing to so many of us! Thank you.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Dale, thank you so much! Your thoughtfulness is such a gift. Blessings to you as Easter draws near.

  2. Jill Says:

    Thank you so much Jan for sharing something so beautiful & personal to you at this time. Many Blessings to you.Jill.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thank you, Jill! I’m so grateful for your words and your heart. Blessings to you in these days.

  3. Vicki Schmidt Says:

    Thank you for this prayer blessing on a day when my heart is not still, on a day when war looms, on a day when the smell of death around the world is filling my heart with deep unrest. I must learn to be still. Today. And remember.

  4. Bob Oberg Says:

    Your words, images and Gary’s song are very touching to me. Today is the first anniversary of the death of the husband of a close friend, and I remember the very moving words another friend of mine preached on Good Friday a number of years ago. I wrote a little poem then, which I would like to share now.

    In the Shadow of Sorrow

    In the shadow of sorrow
    My friend speaks from his heart
    The mystery of sacrifice and redemption
    A sense of loss and failure
    The death of the little self
    We glimpse the other shore
    But our raft is not well made
    There is a deep mystery
    That we try to understand
    In the shadow of sorrow.

    With love,

  5. Catherine MacDonald Says:

    Thank you so much for these words.
    They were the final words spoken at our Good Friday service today in Nova Scotia.

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