By Cameron Bellm
Spirit & Verse is a monthly column of original poem-prayers composed by Cameron Bellm, a Seattle-based writer and mother of two whose “Prayer for a Pandemic” went viral, bringing solace and comfort to many struggling during COVID-19.
On Friday it was lanterns, torches, and weapons.
It was Jesus saying, “I am.”
It was a charcoal fire, lit against the cold,
The longest night of denials,
Until the cock crowed morning.
It was a kingdom not of this world
And Pilate asking, earnestly, “What is truth?”
It was Barabbas freed, a crown of thorns, a purple cloak.
It was Gabbatha and then Golgotha.
It was lots cast for a seamless tunic,
And a beaten body on a cross.
It was the women grieving, a sprig of hyssop, a sponge.
On Friday it was finished.
On Saturday it was silence and a sealed tomb,
Jesus inside as if in a womb,
His body swaddled in burial cloths,
Anointed with aloes and myrrh.
It was a quiet, lonely garden,
Maybe not so different from the one
On the other side of the temple,
The one where Jesus prayed and sweat blood.
It was the end, they all thought,
Their hearts crushed, their minds reeling,
Thinking only one thought:
“How could this have happened?”
On Saturday it was hopeless.
On Sunday it was the women at dawn,
An earthquake, an angel clothed in light.
It was fear, and it was weeping;
It was four simple words, said twice:
“Do not be afraid.” It was Jesus himself,
And elated running, ecstatic disbelief,
Understanding, at first, only bits and pieces.
It was the disciples needing to see for themselves,
The stone rolled away, no body inside.
It was the road to Emmaus and deep despair,
And it was broken bread and burning hearts; it was joy.
On Sunday it was those burial cloths left behind,
That we might all be wrapped in resurrection.
Click here for a Jesuit’s Easter playlist.
Previous Spirit & Verse poem-prayers:
Prayer for the Bleak Midwinter
Every Family Is a Holy Family
A Prayer for the Feast of Christ the King
A Prayer for the Season of Creation
A Prayer for the Feast of St. Alberto Hurtado
Ignatius and the Stars: A Prayer for the Close of the Ignatian Year
A Prayer for Gun Reform
A Prayer for the Visitation
A Prayer for Holding and Being Held by the Earth
A Prayer for Liminal Spaces
Answer the Knock: An Advent Prayer
Mary, Mother of Us All
A Prayer for World Day of Migrants and Refugees
A Prayer for Peace When the World is on Fire
A Prayer for the Ignatian Year
A Prayer for the Month of the Sacred Heart
A Prayer for Mary’s Month During a Pandemic
St. Joseph Prayer
A Prayer for Ash Wednesday
A Prayer for the Feast of the Epiphany
A Prayer for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
A Prayer for the Month of the Holy Souls
A Prayer for Living “Fratelli Tutti”
Our Lady of Sorrows
A Prayer for the Beginning of the School Year
A Prayer for the Feast of St. Ignatius
Cameron Bellm is a Seattle-based writer of prayers, poems, and devotionals. After completing her Ph.D. in Russian literature at the University of California, Berkeley, she traded the academic life for the contemplative life, informed by Ignatian spirituality and Catholic social teaching. She is the author of “A Consoling Embrace: Prayers for a Time of Pandemic” (23rd Publications, 2020). Cameron and her husband have two young sons, and, blessedly, playing with Legos often nurtures her spiritual life as much as reading the lectionary. You can find her at cameronbellm.com and on Instagram, @cameronbellm.