A Community Candlelight Gathering for One Who Died Too Soon

Below are my remarks and prayer from this evening as our small, eastern Oregon community gathered to grieve, lament, and be with one another following the tragic death of a beloved 17-year-old last evening.

Opening Remarks

Let me tell you what I know to be true. Pain doesn’t last forever, though when we’re in the midst of it that can be hard to believe.

Our God, the divine essence that feeds the wheat, the breath that blows and is converted to electricity by windmills is love. That love is within you, too.

That love is the image of God in which each human being is created.

That love is what causes us to ache, and hurt. For without love loss is nothing. We cannot imagine a world without Kaela. How can she be one moment and than not the next?!?


Community Prayer

Please assume an attitude of prayer or meditation as your faith or no faith dictates. 

Sacred breath,

You blew across the nothingness before it was something. You loved an earth and a sun, stars and a universe into being. We feel your love at the birth of our children, grandchildren, neighbors and strangers. You are the very breath that gives us life.

In the wheat fields, on the mountain tops, on gravel roads beneath spacious skies, and in the canyons your breath moves. In our joys, the laughter, our learning and growing, even in our conflicts [pause], but mostly in our relationships of love your breath reminds us that we are one humanity, one community.

In our sister Kaela we felt your breath that connects all of the living together. She was friend, classmate, neighbor, daughter, and barely-known but she was and remains your beloved. Your breath of love left Kaela’s earthly body yesterday in a horrible, violent way. Her breath now intermingles with yours.

We weep because we do not see her face anymore. We cry because she will not be at the fair or graduation. We will not get to see her laughing eyes or her angry face. Nor will she grow to have children of her own. We think she is no more.

We think we will feel this deep chasm of grief and loss and pain, forever.


Breath of healing and hope, blow through the fairgrounds, blow through the halls of the high school, take up residence in her family home, blow along 206, and in every canyon of Gilliam county. Make your love known to distressed hearts. Be a salve for those who sob, who are numb, and angry.  As our grief continues in the months and year to come gently breathe your love upon skin wet from so very many tears.


Today is a day for sorrow.

Though we will have many more days of sadness, we know that your breath of love will bring hope and healing in its time

just as the wind blows out the frozen fog of winter and the smoke of wildfire in its time.

We are grateful for your love which binds our community together. We recognize your divine presence that resurrects hope in the darkest of hours.

Tonight we grieve.

Tomorrow is a day to grieve and take one more step forward.

Blow your loving breath at our back that our steps will be light and grow in hope each day. May we breathe in your love that now contains the essence of our dear friend, Kaela.

Shalom. Peace. Amen.

Tim strives to share God’s extravagant love for all–no matter what & without strings. Seeking to follow the lure of the Spirit, Tim writes about what it means to be a follower of Jesus in an era where Christianity has come to be associated with hatred and political wedge issues. “Heinous things have been said & done (& still are) in the name of the One who breathed in the Divine,” notes Tim, “but Jesus shows us that God loves extravagantly.” Following the teachings and life of Jesus is about inclusion not exclusion. It is about compassion, grace, and admitting no one has all the answers. It is about responding lovingly to the best of our human ability. It is about people not institutions. It is about social justice. It is about caring for creation. It is about being who we were each created to be. Tim is a former early childhood educator, a runner, a hiker, a devoted husband, father of two adult children and their spouses, and a grandfather of four perfect grandchildren. Tim serves as Senior Pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Albany, Oregon. He writes from home, from the coffee shop, and wherever the trail leads him.

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Posted in After a Tragedy, Genesis, Genesis 1, Genesis 1-2, Genesis 1-2:1, Old Testament, Special Times

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Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

All materials by Tim Graves unless otherwise noted. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/

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