Liturgy for Letting Go

This is part of the liturgy we are doing tonight at Sabbath Worship. In place of the usual Confession sequence, we will be reading this, responsively:


Sacrament of Letting Go        by Macrina Wiederkehr

she celebrated the sacrament of letting go.
First she surrendered her green,
then the orange, yellow, and red
finally she let go of her brown.

Shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.

Leaning against the the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust.

And Jesus said:

Why do you worry about clothes? Remember the flowers growing in the fields; they do not fret about what to wear; yet I assure you not even Solomon in all his royal robes was dressed like one of these.

Shedding her last leaf
she watched its journey to the ground.
She stood in silence
wearing the color of emptiness,
her branches wondering:

How do you give shade with so much gone?

And Jesus said:

Do not be troubled or needlessly concerned.

And then the sacrament of waiting began….

I invite you, as you are able, to come forward to one of the two tables up front. There are leaves on the tables, and markers.

Please write on a leaf something you are being called to let go. It can be a physical object, or a toxic relationship, or an attitude, or a practice that no longer gives life, even if it was beautiful for a season.  Please leave your leaf on the table when you are done, knowing you have offered it to God. Let it be God’s to rake up and spread around the base of your roots, used to nourish the soil of your soul, preparing you for a new season of life and hope and joy.


Later in the service before communion is served ….

Please join me as we read responsively:

Sacrament of Waiting    by Macrina Wiederkehr

The sunrise and the sunset watched with tenderness.
Clothing her with silhouettes
they kept her hope alive.

They helped her understand that
her vulnerability,
her dependence and need,
her emptiness,
her readiness to receive
were giving her a new kind of beauty.

Every morning and every evening they stood in silence
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting.

And Jesus said:

Now if that is how God cares for the wild flowers in the field which are here today and gone tomorrow, will God not all the more care for you….”

As you come forward to receive communion, you are invited to take a snowflake from the bowl. Place it somewhere to remind you that you are in a season of waiting, preparing for the advent of God’s love and light into the world at Christmas. When the holidays threaten to overwhelm, may your snowflake remind you of the perfection of the moment. Each snowflake is unique and unrepeated. Each lasts for a brief time and then makes way for the next beautiful moment that is yet to come.


May you have many moments of Sabbath time in the holiday season to come, each beautiful in their own way.

Come, for all is now ready. God is present for us here this night, in this meal.

4 thoughts on “Liturgy for Letting Go

  1. Beautifully expressed. You remind me a bit of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, The Art of Losing. She was being sad and a bit bitter and somewhat resigned — but when I read that poem, now, I think of all the things I have lost and realize that some of the lost things are “no loss at all.”

    Best wishes as the church year draws to an end and the new one begins.


  2. Thank you for a perfectly timed “Letting Go”. It was so hard to let go, end, an intense, long and publicly lived relationship. I and everything says that it is the right thing to do. It does not make it any easier. But reading this blog helps so much.


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