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“According to the Burial Custom” © Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com

Today is a terrible day.

All around us are reminders of death-
the sound of doctors weeping,
the stench of bodies in refrigerator trucks,
the sight of caskets dumped into mass graves,
the loss of touch, the pain of distance, the uncertainty of our future-

We are consumed.

And You-
the one they call Messiah-
You sit with us in the terror.

In the shame of political leaders
appeasing crowds, preserving power
at the expense of human life,
You are there.

In the injustice of a system
lynching dark flesh, killing the poor
while blaming them for mob violence
You are there.

In the mocking of the dying,
cries of denial, shouts of blame
ignorant of this moment’s gravity
You are there.

In the gasping for breath-
the torture, inescapable weight,
the exhaustion of a body slowly losing life
You are there.

In the desperate pleas to God
to hear, to respond
to not forsake God’s very own children
You are there.

In the loneliness and isolation
of final breaths breathed out
with nobody to notice, no one to hug
You are there.

In the lament of the women
grieving alone, as they have for generations,
while others are too busy, too scared, too numb
You are there.

In the indignity of human flesh
discarded yet again,
untended, unprepared for burial
You are there.

In the vastness of the tomb-
cold, vacuous, dark space
holding death, hosting despair
You are there.

You are there.
You are here.
You are with us.
Your presence is our salvation.

So as we face this day-
a day they call “good”-
give us courage to also face the terror.

To grieve it,
to name it,
to feel its weight,
to hold it together- with You.

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