A Prayer in the aftermath of another school shooting

A prayer that survivors of loved ones lost to violence may become a tribute to their memory.

For Survivors of School Shootings

You who have endured this grievous loss,
You who have mourned and lamented,
Surely sorrow pierced your heart
When murder raged,
Staining your memory red with blood.
Let love bind your wounds.
Let tears sooth your soul.
Let your life be a tribute
To the memory of the lost.

From a prayer by Alden Solovy. Find the entire prayer, “For Survivors of School Shootings” on his blog To Bend Light.

About Alden Solovy

Alden Solovy spreads joy and excitement for prayer. A liturgist and poet, his work has been used by people of many faiths throughout the world. He’s written more than 900 pieces of new liturgy, offering a fresh Jewish voice, challenging the boundaries between poetry, meditation, personal growth, storytelling, and prayer. He’s a teacher, a writing coach, and an award-winning essayist and journalist. Alden is the Liturgist-in-Residence at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. More about Alden.

‘Bending Light’

Light is a universal metaphor for Divine energy, a symbol for holiness, truth, radiance, eminence, love. To pray is to summon Divine light into our lives. To bless is an attempt summon that light and then to bend it toward holy purpose, including consolation, joy and healing. Communion is the attempt to journey into the light of holiness, awe and wonder. And so, prayer is an act of summoning light. Blessing is an act of bending light. Communion is the act of entering light. More: Bending Light

The Race Track | Epiphany 5B

Light and life confronts darkness and death.

And [Jesus] cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.  ~Mark 1:34

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/Albert_Pinkham_Ryder_-_The_Race_Track_%28c.1896-1908%29.jpg

The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse)
oil on canvas, c.1886-1908
Albert Pinkham Ryder, 1847-1917

Commentary by Hovak Najarian

During the latter part of the nineteenth century, America was engaged in rapid growth in the areas of manufacturing, commerce, and the building of railroads. The arts were not a priority. Serious artists were likely to go to Paris to absorb the culture and milieu during an era that brought great changes in the arts of Europe. Artists who remained in America often studied in New York City and then lived there, or nearby, as they built careers and established reputations.

Like the bohemian life in Paris, artists in New York’s Greenwich Village lived in a place where they could work, socialize, and be unencumbered by the expectations and values of society at large. For most of his adult life, Albert Pinkham Ryder, lived in The Village and was dedicated to painting. He had no desire to pursue fame, or accumulate material wealth. While his contemporaries in France, the Impressionists, were going outside to paint the effects of sunlight, Ryder stayed indoors and most of his images developed from within himself. An exception was The Race Track that he painted as the result of a direct experience.

Ryder often dined at a hotel in The Village where his brother was the proprietor. In a conversation one evening, he learned that his waiter gambled on horses and was excited about a much publicized race that would be held the following day. The waiter was going to place his entire savings on a horse that he believed would win. On the day after the race, Ryder returned to the hotel but the waiter was not there. When he inquired, he was told the favored horse came in third and the man lost his entire savings. He was unable to cope with his loss and took his own life.

Ryder’s painting, The Race Track, also known as, Death on a Pale Horse, depicts a lone skeleton-like figure on horseback carrying a scythe and circling the race track in a reverse direction. The track’s fence is broken in two places and the landscape is barren except for a lone dead tree. The race track, a metaphor for life, circles endlessly. In the foreground, a snake represents symbolically Satan, temptation, and betrayal. The man that took his life was possessed with gambling and to Ryder, the race track was, in effect, his death. As in the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, Ryder has placed the figure of death on a pale horse.

Hovak Najarian © 2018

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

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