To Unitarian Universalists, Boston is normally the shorthand for the “center” of our faith.  candleThis morning we wake with grief and mourning in our hearts over the tragedy at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  For me, this is a reminder about one of the most important roles of a faith community: to provide a container for private grief and public mourning.

For me, these are the times where I hope we can grow into a spiritual maturity that makes space for words that are not always welcome in some of our congregations.  God.  Prayer. Lamentation.   Perhaps we might read from the book of Psalms.

There Is a Balm in Gilead

African American Spiritual


Sometimes I feel discouraged

and think my work’s in vain,

But then the Holy Spirit

revives my soul again.

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;

There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.





About the Author
Rev. Renee Ruchotzke
Leadership Development Consultant, Central East Regional Group (CERG) of the UUA. I have a vision of Unitarian Universalist congregations being led by thousands of diverse, spiritually mature and passionate people ready and willing to spread the good news of liberal religion.  I believe ministry is best when shared between lay and professional leaders. More information about me can be found on the UUA website.
  • Zenmyme

    Thank you, Renee.
    As a Worship Associate in my small congregation, I often feel that public prayer is a challenge for some, although we often call for silent meditation. Having grown up Christian (Methodist) I shall never give up prayer and gratitude, both of which can be expressed in so many ways.
    Last night, I lit a candle and prayed for Boston, our country, and the world.