On Mondays I have been sharing a few prayers from our new book “From the Psalms to the Cloud — Connecting to the Digital Era” (Mankin and Tirabassi, Pilgrim Press).
We pay attention. We pray attention. We pray nature into the sanctuary. If we are liturgists, we pray our personal week all around the pews and hope that its very specificity allows those who are sitting in them to celebrate the precious ordinary details of their own lives. R. Matthew Stevens gathers people to worship in Epiphany in his Canadian First Nations community, and he begins with snow. In Australia and Argentina and Aotearoa the weather is late summer. Barbara Murray from Aotearoa, New Zealand, lifts up that truth. We read each, not to choose but to be present with one another.
GATHERING OURSELVES FOR WORSHIP
One: A snow-covered landscape, nearly barren except for a few trees, all shrouded in mist.
Many: We’ve all experienced winter this way, cold, dreary, and lonely. One: Yet even in winter there are many simple pleasures to be found.
Many: A cup of hot chocolate after a brisk walk, a roaring fire in the hearth, a gathering of family or friends over a hearty meal.
One: And if we look closer, we’ll see the first tentative sprigs of grass peek- ing up through the snow.
Many: The trees are not just any trees, but evergreens, perseverance against the cold and darkness, and eventual triumph over it.
One: Most significantly, these green symbols speak of persistent faith;
of a hope expressed amid the wintery landscape; of the joy of that hope’s rebirth.
Many: A new world is being created, and if we place our hope in God’s redemptive power, that new world is ours as well.
One: If your life has had too much of barrenness and cold, I welcome you into this place where today we celebrate the warmth of that new world.
Many: Let us all join in worshiping the Creator, who makes all things new! —R. Matthew Stevens
Creator God, We see your handiwork in the order of our world. In the infinite variety of plants and flowers and how they provide food for different animal and bird life. In the food chain of the oceans. In the changing seasons; from wet to dry in the tropics; from summer to autumn in New Zealand; from winter to spring in the northern hemisphere. We thank you for the rain we have had for our gardens and for the farms and orchards. We thank you for cooler temperatures at night.
Creator God, we thank you.