A Psalm for Probating an Estate

roseRose Marie Berger, a Catholic peace activist and poet, is a senior associate editor at Sojourners magazine.

Note: Our outgoing interns led worship this week at Sojourners. They invited us to write a psalm to share. I had just returned from D.C. Probate Court where I filed the final papers for my friend and co-worker Elizabeth Palmberg’s estate. Zab died on June 23, 2014. This is the psalm that came out.

for Zab Palmberg

O God, Thou art Creator and Destroyer.
You exhale and we are made to live;

You inhale and we are returned to You.
You plant us like a seed

in good, fat soil.
You tend us and bring the rain and sun.

You delight in our roots and our branches
and our fruits.

Then we ripen —
into beauty and fullness —

falling softly to Your ground.
Our bodies are wiped clean

with the oil of gladness.
Our soul-seeds are wrapped

in prayers of thanksgiving.
Our wordy flesh, our bulky wealth

are dispersed
to the least, the lost, the lonely.

Our sisters snatch back
our brief and glorious labor

from the blunt teeth of the enemy.
Then we are spread —

like bread upon the waters.
You and us, too,

watch the little fish rise up
to feed.

Blessed are Thou, O Beloved,
Thou art our Destroyer and Creator.

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