[i’m beginning to do some thinking around liturgies / worship for mental health week. one of the things we’re doing is sacred space in the city, curated with the family and friends of those living with mental illnesses in mind. we’re using psalm 139:1-12 for this space. this poem won’t be part of it – it ended up going in a different direction – but it’s got my initial reaction to this psalm out of my system! if you’ve ever been ‘watched’ in a destructive way, or had secrets you’ve needed to hide, this psalm has the potential to be oppressive instead of liberating…]

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when i sit down and when i rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away – Psalm 139:1-2

what comfort is to be found in this?

you are no more than a divine surveillance camera
watching from on high
swivelling to catch
every move
and thought
recording it for later reviewing

where you can isolate the moment
this all began to go wrong

(and how does that make you different
from anyone else?)

i will not have my life known that much
by anyone

there are secrets to hide
things better left unknown.

so i run
to leave it all behind

and i reach the edge of the world
and the very end of myself
and i throw myself with relief into what lies beyond –

hell, known, for once, by its own name

and it’s here i find
that i’m held
by nothing
but a whisper

that speaks of wonder
of intricate extraordinary fearless beauty

in a tone of overwhelming all-consuming love

and though i look for who else you could be speaking of
i know there is no one here but me


  1. Fionnaigh

    oooh ooh oh, we put together some awesome Mental Health liturgies last year! I’ll see if I can dig them out. When is Mental Health Week over there??

  2. Cheryl

    it’s stunning… i can’t find an email address for you on your site. can i use some of it? i’ll talk to you about which bits and in what way…

  3. Ooooops… I should put my address on there! But I can’t work out how to change it from this computer. But I’ve left my email lying around on so many sites I may as well leave it here: it’s fi at

    (and of course you can use some of it!)

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