This was first posted at Write Out of Left Field.

Easter is a challenge for preaching this year, even with these very familiar texts. I wrote the following poem as I struggle to pull sermon thoughts together. You are welcome to use it in your worship with attribution. Please share any thoughts you have on preaching this week that we may support one another in these challenging times.


Grace in the Wilderness

an eagle flies
across the sunset skies
wings spread in benediction

a boy peddles lazily
with gas station flowers
balanced in his hoodie pocket

dogs behind fencing
tumble and play
pausing to bark as we pass by

mostly masked faces
hands raised in greeting
keep a healthy distance

small green leaves
unfurling after winter’s sleep
reach out in new life

an empty tomb
waited to be noticed
by women bent on grieving

the angel gives a new direction
what you seek here
look elsewhere

a mistaken gardener
calls Mary by name
opens her being

Jesus lives even now
with arms wide open
proclaiming everlasting love

we who come in fear and grief
missing the benediction
and the new life

take a breath
listen for the One
who calls us by name

we keep company with death
heedless of the angel’s words
seeking what is not here

grief and fear accompany us
yet do not know our names
and offer no promises

behind the masks
across the six-foot divides
Christ arises

on this virus-infected Easter
let us come
with our tears and fears

experience the emptiness
the loss and despair
of world-wide grief

may we also see
benediction in the rising and setting sun
new life all around us

Christ is risen
the promise of steadfast love
the hope of eternal life continue

Breathe deeply
God shows no partiality
and always provides

Grace in the wilderness
in the fear-filled places
in the heaviness of grief

may we see Christ
in every face
in every place

may we breathe in
the scent of hope
the promise of new life

from this moment
be forever changed
by Love for Love

Christ is risen
Christ is risen indeed

go in peace
thanks be to God


Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is an author and the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ in Minneapolis, MN. You can find links to her blog, video series, and books at

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6 thoughts on “RCL: Grace in the Wilderness, A Poem for Easter 2020

  1. Thank you Rachel! This paints the lovely landscape of both-and, and will serve as a perfect conclusion (my plan so far) to the Good News proclaimed on Easter ~ naming you as author❤️


  2. Love it!

    I am recording my sermon in a few minutes (when my cameraperson stops doing homework and comes over to the church). I am going with MArk’s very brief, seemingly unfinished account of Easter morn. The idea that resurrection has happened but grief and fear and confusion get in the way of the women understanding and sharing the news seems to ring true to me this year.

    Liked by 1 person

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