Hymn for Spring and Prayer for Peace

Here are two resources from the southern hemisphere offered for the folks in the northern hemisphere because of the coinciding of spring and Lent. For those reading this in the southern hemisphere — thank you for holding on to them for six months. You can see, as you read, how well they fit Lenten themes. The first is a hymn by Viv Whimster of Aotearoa / New Zealand. These were the words that seemed to fit so well this season. 

Now help us face the pain that growth may bring:
and overcome the fears that hold us back;

Following the hymn is a prayer for peace in all dimension from a healing service For a Healing Service of The Order of St. Luke, in Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia, written by Theodore Gobledale, who wrote it while serving a global mission partner in Australia.  
Both of these pieces of liturgy are from Gifts in Open Hands — More Resources for the Global Community.

Hymn for Spring

Bare branches reach toward the winter sky,
a chilling wind blows from the southern snow,
the frozen pastures bleak and barren lie;
we yearn for warmth and life to come once more.

By bush-clad coast we wait for signs of spring:
the budding grape vine and the kowhai* bloom;
in celebration, hymns of praise we sing,
as symbols of new life, bright flowers we share.

Life-giving Spirit, through your people move!
Awaken gifts which in us dormant lie;
may each one blossom in your caring love,
revived by you like sun and gentle rain.

Now help us face the pain that growth may bring:
and overcome the fears that hold us back;
around us and within we welcome spring,
the promise of a faithful God fulfilled.

Tune: Sursum Corda

*Kowhai, a legume tree, famous for its beautiful yellow or golden flowers which blossom in early spring, is the national flower of New Zealand.

For a Healing Service of The Order of St. Luke, in Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia  

One: Gracious God, loving parent, you watch over us like a mother with her children.  You have created a world for us with a richness, a beauty that beggars description.  As another spring blossoms around us we are awed, again by the splendour of the renewal of life.  The trees leaf out, the cups of the daffodils reach up to the sky in supplication, the wisteria is heavy with blossoms and heavenly with a heady aroma.  Make our hearts to bloom like the spring, with all the richness of the newness of life which you have created for us.  Lord in your mercy…

All: Hear our prayer.

One: Holy Spirit, you blow like the wind, where you come from and where you are going, we know not and yet we know that you are always with us, as near to us as our hands and the very air we breath.  We pause this afternoon to sense your presence, to remember your mighty power, and your meek gentleness.  You are slow to anger and quick to forgive.  We are grateful, thankful, for your mercy for we are not perfect people.  We have failed to do things we should have done, and we have done things which we should not have don e.  Forgive us our sins and help us to forgive others.  Let us not harbour grudges for with grudges in port there is no shelter from the storm of resentments which tear at our souls.  Lord in your mercy…

All: Hear our prayer.

One: O Prince of peace, we pray for peace this afternoon.  We pray for peace in our world.  Not just the peace of no warfare, but the peace, the shalom, the salaam, that is peace with justice for all people.  We pray for a world where children get the food and health care they need.  We pray for a world where resources are shared equitably with all.  We pray for a world where our swords are beaten into plowshares, a place where war is studied no more.  Lord in your mercy…

All: Hear our prayer.

One: We pray for our country.  May our land be one that is free and fair. May this be a country where we remember all who have gone before us.  May we respect its indigenous people, flora and fauna.  May we be good stewards of this sunburnt land that we call home.  Lord in your mercy…

All: Hear our prayer.

One: We pray for our communities. May we be good neighbours.  May we open our hearts to those around us in need of a helping hand, an encouraging word, a pat on the back.  Lord in the silence of this moment we lift to you the prayers of peace weighing upon our individual hearts.  Lord in your mercy….

All: Hear our prayer.

One: This afternoon we close with these words of challenge to all of us in the words of St. Francis:

All: Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred let us sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is discord, union; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love.  For it is in giving that we receive;  It is in pardoning  that we are pardoned;  And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  In Christ’s name  we pray.  Amen!

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