Prayer and songs for a garden dedication

I wrote these pieces for a church in Maryland that created a garden in the churchyard

hyacinth in the stump

hyacinth in the stump

with cuttings and replantings of many people’s flowers and the placing of special stones . It is for the remembering of those who have died and for people in the neighborhood to come for quiet and contemplation. There are also members of the congregation who live in spaces that have no options for gardening — not even a windowbox. They have a chance to sign up to be tenders of this green space. The pastor asked me to write a prayer for the dedication and I added a couple re-lyriced common hymns in case they wanted to sing. (I don’t know whether they used them or not).

It strikes me, as the northern hemisphere turns to opening up gardens and the southern hemisphere to tucking them away, that personal prayer for gardens  — the memorial kind, the community or church kind, the hungry-for-my-own-vegetables kind — any kind might be appreciated.

Perhaps you have a garden prayer or song to share with others? Please send it to

Prayer for a Garden

God, we need peace – so we come to the garden for quiet.
We need joy – so we come to the garden for our senses —
the green of leaf,
the rich crumbling smell of soil,
and the scent of pine needle,
the sounds of small life, of chipmunk and bird,
that come and go in all places natural,
the rough texture of gravel, the delicacy of a flower petal.

We need to let things go – so we come to the garden for rest,
and we need to let people go,
so we come to the garden to remember them.

We need hope – so we come to the garden to watch things grow
reminding ourselves to be planters
and to enjoy what others have planted.

We need benches where we can begin to let Sabbath in our lives.
We need paths to help us recognize our own journeys.
We need a justice commitment to environment,
a global commitment that calls us to action,
but we also need a small square of real earth
to root our speeches and to get our hands dirty.

We need community – so we come to this garden
to give and receive a shared blessing
(not the result of our personal winter catalogues,
spring compost, summer weeding)
to give and receive a shared blessing
from the hand of the Sower of seeds. Amen

Now the Green Blade Rises (words for a garden dedication)

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Green comes up in churches – love for earth and air,
Let this place be symbol of our will to care.
Damage is done that makes creation weep —
We stand with all gardens — promises to keep.

Softly words are spoken, gently trust is born.
sanctuaries chosen when our hearts are worn
on this small ground we share each others’ need
and the holy Gardener gives us shoot and seed.

I Come to the Garden Alone (for garden dedication)

I come to the garden alone
to taste religion quite slowly –
but the garden’s hope has a broader scope
and I find the whole world ho-o-ly.

For the truth we face has a common grace –
Not a solo but a chorale –
and the love is wide that is multiplied
by a Savior who walks with us all.

The garden invites us to share
all our hopes, doubts, wonders and sorrows,
and our tears of grief fall on green be-leaf,
and we plant our new tomorrows …


The old hymn of the garden still sings
and its third verse send us to mission,
for it bids us go to each place of woe
and needs no new edi-tion.


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3 Responses to Prayer and songs for a garden dedication

  1. rezrevres says:

    I love the rewrite on “I Come To The Garden Alone” hymn. Well done.

  2. Beautiful! You put me right in the garden, singing and smelling God’s creation. Thank you Maren.

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