July 2020 WATERritual

Bless us with Creative Hope

By Diann L. Neu with Laura Carr-Pries

Listen to the audio of our July 2020 WATERritual here.

Place a candle, matches, and a flower or seed near you. Have a piece of paper and a pen with you.

Welcome and Call to Gather
We gather during the uncertainties generated by the continuing rise of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the deplorable systemic violence of racism and white supremacy, economic suffering, and the devastating effects of climate change that threaten life on Earth. In the midst of the chaos of our world, we come together tonight to acknowledge our despair and hopelessness, and to ask to be blessed with creative hope. 

Take a deep breath. What is going on in your life and in your community that is bringing up feelings of despair and hopelessness? Take a moment to write down these things or name them to yourself. We will invite you to show your list in just a moment.

Centering Prayer 

Light a candle.

God of Many Names,
Yahweh, Allah, Holy One, Divine Wisdom,
Bless me with creative hope for my weary journey.
Bless us with hope to get us through these trying times.
Bless people in every nation with love, mercy, justice, and hope.
Amen. Ashe. Blessed Be.       

Listen to Hope

“Hope is a song in a weary throat.”
Pauli Murray, title poem, Dark Testament, 197

“Hope is a very unruly emotion.”
Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, 2019

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
Emily Dickinson, in T.W. Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, eds. Poems by Emily Dickinson (1861)

Song: “There is More Love Somewhere,” Words and music: African American spiritual https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXUYYq_kXrY

There is more *love somewhere
There is more *love somewhere
I’m gonna keep on ’til I find it
There is more *love somewhere

*hope *peace *love


Reading: Rough Translations” by Jan Richardson, from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons, janrichardson.com http://paintedprayerbook.com/2012/02/26/day-9-hoping-against-hope/


Hope nonetheless.
Hope despite.
Hope regardless.
Hope still.

Hope where we had ceased to hope.
Hope amid what threatens hope.
Hope with those who feed our hope.
Hope beyond what we had hoped.

Hope that draws us past our limits.
Hope that defies expectations.
Hope that questions what we have known.
Hope that makes a way where there is none.

Hope that takes us past our fear.
Hope that calls us into life.
Hope that holds us beyond death.
Hope that blesses those to come.

Reflect | Meditate | Journal 

What are my sources of hope? What are my hopes and dreams for the future? What creative action will I do to bring creative hope to my weary journey and a troubled world?

Let’s pause for quiet reflection. Then I will invite us to hold our flower or seed and share as we wish.

 Take Action 

  • Be kind. Have empathy.
  • Listen to the story of someone who is different from you.
  • Find your hope, hold on to it, and share it.

Closing Blessing

God of Many Names,
Yahweh, Allah, Holy One, Divine Wisdom,
Thank you for promising to bless us with hope.
Empower us to be hopeful so we may act justly, love tenderly, and walk hopefully with you.
Amen. Ashe. Blessed Be.


Song: “Rise Up” by Andra Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmHfo_3EGFA
A headline in The New York Times on April 23, 2020 read: “Hospitals Play ‘Songs of Hope’ as Virus Patients Go Home.” Anthems like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the “Rocky” theme, “Every Breath You Take,” “Here Comes the Sun,” and “Rise Up” have been adopted by hospitals to celebrate each victory in the battle against coronavirus. Tonight we close with “Rise Up.”

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up

And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you

When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
We’ll take it to its feet
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
Source: LyricFind

Learn More from These Resources

Campbell, Joan Brown. Living into Hope: A Call to Spiritual Action for Such a Time as This. Woodstock, VT: SkyLights Paths Publishing, 2010.

Chavez, Matthew “Levee.” Signs of Hope: Messages from Subway Therapy. New York:   Bloomsbury, 2017.

Chittister, Joan. Radical Spirit: Twelve Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life. New York: Convergent Books, 2017.

Chittister, Joan, and Rowan Williams. Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia for All That Is. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010.

Murray, Pauli. Song in a Weary Throat: Memoir of an American Pilgrimage. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1987.

Steinem, Gloria. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2019.

Tobin, Mary Luke. Hope Is an Open Door. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1981.

© 2020 WATER: The Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, dneu@hers.com