John 16:16-33
1 Thessalonians 4:13

Take a moment to be still and to pray ‘Come, Holy Spirit’ before reading the scriptures. If you are in the company of others, invite someone to read the text aloud.


If you are gathering with your family, invite someone to read this reflection aloud.

We have all lost this year.

Each of us has endured a degree of suffering over the past twelve months. Goodbyes said to loved ones over screens, jobs lost, plans left shattered. The whole world has experienced a collective trauma, which has trickled all the way into our locked down lives.

As we look back on a season that has shaped us like no other, grief is the adequate response.

We avoid grief because it is unpredictable, like ocean waves. As John O’Donohue says, “There are days when you wake up happy, until the moment breaks and you are thrown back onto the black tide of loss.”

We tell ourselves that it is easier to avoid grief than to be ambushed by it. Asked how we are, we lie with a “Grand, thanks,” for someone else is always worse off than we are. Either that or, like shoving a beachball underwater, we attempt to smother our pain, forcing it down by numbing ourselves out, only for our pain to resurface unexpectedly, oftentimes out of control.

As Jesus followers, we can deceive ourselves into thinking that our grieving conflicts with our confession of God’s goodness. We hurriedly dust off our pain so we can get back to demonstrating our piety, pretending that everything’s okay. But coming to terms with our suffering need not pull us away from God. It should draw us closer to His embrace. Hallelujah choruses can be played in a minor chord.

We are to take our lead from the Man of Sorrows, who in pain, wept.

Throughout the accounts of His life, we find that Jesus is disarmingly honest, oftentimes expressing what is truly going on with Him. He invites us into this same way of truth-telling, both with Him in prayer and in real talk with a small band of sojourners. In this light, we begin to understand how to articulate not just a description of painful moments, but also their effects on us.

We must learn to name what’s inside of us – not just what we think God and others would like to see inside of us. Truth telling can set us free.

As Ronald Rolheiser puts it, “Just to be able to name something, no matter how absurd or unfair, no matter how powerless we are to change it, is to be somehow free of it, above it, in someway transcendent. To name something correctly is to partly free ourselves of its dominance.”

We also need to give ourselves more time. Hurrying does not help with the journey that grief is taking us on. As we make peace with our pain, we must walk slowly, pausing often, and all the while choosing to be excessively gracious with ourselves.

And for the sojourners, we must be patient, making time for hurt to be expressed. With all our longings for better days, we must not rush the hurting ahead to a resolution that isn’t quite ready to be received. In the liminal space of grief, we can be assured that Jesus is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

Through truth and in time, wounds of loss will heal.

As the nights stretch out and restrictions get pulled back, it’s tempting to forget the past twelve months and just move on. Yet we have all lost this year. Truth wants us to step onto His way and receive His life. In the words of C.S. Lewis,

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Instead of moving on, may you attend to your wounds, and attune your ears to His loud, loving voice.

Stuart Bothwell


Depending on which time of day you are practicing this office, you can use the morning or evening prayer. All to pray the following words aloud.

Morning Prayer 

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.


Northumbria Community


Evening Prayer 

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake.


Compline Prayer – Common Book of Prayer



If you are gathering with your family, wait a moment and listen for the voice of God. Prayerfully share any words, pictures, encouragements or scriptures with each other by the laying on of hands.

Whether you are by yourself, or in the company of others, take time to pray for others that the Holy Spirit brings to mind, blessing them in His name.


Close your time by singing or saying aloud the Doxology.

“Fight back the dark with doxology. Doxology can detox the day.”

Ann Voskamp

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, you heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Amen and Amen.

Celtic Daily Prayer by Northumbria Community
Wrestling With God by Ronald Rolheiser
To Bless The Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis