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  • Writer's pictureBradley Bell

A Liturgy for Missionaries During the Holidays

This may be prayed alone, but could be more beneficial alongside fellow petitioners. Items in bold should be spoken together.

O God who is both near and far,

‘tis the season again

and yet here we are so far away.

Be near to us now

as we celebrate and as we grieve.

This is the holy work

of holy days.

You do not call us

to empty ourselves

before we approach your throne.

Instead, you invite us

to be unwrapped,

revealing what’s hidden inside.

And so we come.

Grief is like a black diamond

with a hundred different facets

that all reflect the same sorrow.

Sometimes it is obvious, like tears on tap.

Sometimes it is mysterious, like knots in the gut.

Sometimes it is delirious, like










all mixed into one.

You are acquainted with all our grief.

We confess our hesitancy to fully acknowledge such grief

for fear that it might flood us

and carry us from the very field

to which you have called us.

But it is through grief that you remind us, Lord,

there is something of worth to our souls.

And the loss of a worthy thing hurts—

it really hurts.

Yet you are not a Father who scolds his child

when her balloon floats away,

but, rather, draws her into your arms

because you measure her losses not by your standards,

but hers.

So by our trust of you,

we take the risk of unwrapping before you

our aching absences:

The favorite dish

The festive decor

The glory of family

The glow of gathering

The change in pace

The change in weather

The church singing together

The community celebrating together

The traditions we knew we would miss

The traditions we didn’t know we would miss

The ability to look at our lives without drowning in self-doubt

The ability to look at others’ lives without drowning in self-pity

Let the supplicants now take courage and speak the specific losses they are grieving. If possible, use names, places, events, things, experiences, and descriptions.

O God of all comfort,

our hearts have eulogized these gifts of grace

that cannot be unwrapped this season.

There is no healing when we minimize,

so, instead,

we choose to share in your sufferings,

and you in ours,

that we may also share in your comforts,

and so know you.

You, who left a land

of perpetual holiday

that left a hole

of continual pain.

You were the Lord of longing

that we might be a people of waiting,

wholly delighted with the best of creation old

while also

holy dissatisfied until the harkening of creation new.

Grant us now

sober minds;

the reminders that:

all is not perfect back home

all is not imperfect over here.

Let us endeavor

without fear, guilt, or shame

to subdue the earth

by creating new traditions

by making new memories

by forging new adventures

in the midst of our “field family”.

And may this testify to a Father

who gathers his children wherever we go.

And let us entrust to you,

without being fixers,

those back home

who are grieving the loss of us,

believing you can use our sad absence

to reveal your good presence.

Now, in the juxtaposition of being

both near and far,

And in the contradiction of being

both grieved and graced,

Wrap us up in you,

O God, we pray,

wrap us up in you.


This liturgy was originally featured at The Upstream Collective.

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