Living Psalm 119–Pentecost 23B


Living Psalms Book

Psalms in the form of words and art, reborn in the specific contexts of our world, privileging the voices of historically marginalized communities and those acting in solidarity with them.


Psalm 119: 1-8—Pentecost 23

for Halloween or Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos


I’ve heard it said that this is the day

when the veil between this life and the next 

is at its thinnest, and I wonder, 

can I hear God better?

Will my ancestors answer

when I speak, when I beg

please don’t leave me all alone!


I walk through the oldest part of the cemetery –

it’s a cliche today, but it is also peace –

dogs running off leash,

flowers that have been recently laid

for those who are long gone, 

geese flying south overhead.

I pray that each soul has been released,

has been wiped clean of the shames

and hardship of this mortal life.

I give thanks for God’s infinite ability 

to forgive me, and them, for all the ways

we have failed ourselves and each other.


When I get home, I pull off my hoodie

sewn with bat wings, the hood with its fangs. 

I think of the friend who told me she wears a mask 

everyday – not of cloth or paper, but a true disguise

of herself – for safety, and to be accepted,

acceptable. She walks in God’s way,

is blameless, has a heart that is right

and still, she must hide. Once, she shared 

her sacred, vulnerable prayer with me

please don’t leave me all alone.

Don’t abandon me, don’t look away 

when the veil drops, when the ghosts speak,

when the past wails about how far we must go,

of what we still must do before it is our turn to step through.


Today, the veil is thin. The vision is bright.

We have work to do.

We have work to do.

Don’t be afraid of the work we must do.


Living Psalm 119: 1-8—Pentecost 23 B (for Halloween or Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos) was written by Maria Mankin.

Living Psalms Book is created by UCC Witness & Worship Artists’ Group, a Network of UCC connected artists, activists and ministers bridging the worship and liturgy of the local church with witness and action in the community. 

Logo is detail from Living Psalm 80 by Sophia Beardemphl, Redwoods, CA. Recovering from significant bullying, Sophia, age nine, read Psalm 80 and  thought of brokenness that needs mending. She drew this broken and mended bowl.

© Copyright 2021  Maria Mankin. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

Living Psalm 119–Pentecost 23 B Halloween