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Earth Day Prayer

Infinite Spirit, sometimes called Grandfather, Grandmother —
Father Sky, Earth Mother, Creator:

We gather to praise your creation,
to honor the swimmers and crawlers,
the four-leggeds and the winged ones;
we give thanks for the beauty and glory of creation
and open our hearts to new ways to understand
our place in the universe—not the center or focus,
but a humble and balanced place,
where every step we take becomes a prayer,
where every word we say
makes harmony with the vast, vibrating cosmos,
and where we know we are singing the song of life.

We pray to know more deeply that we are in the Garden
where every plant and animal and speck of dust
is a living prayer.
Without our brothers and sisters
of the plant and animal and mineral kingdoms,
the human family would end.
So we want to bless them, as they bless us.

We pray for humility—
not to humble ourselves before presidents or priests,
but before the ants and trees—
for if we cannot be in true relation to the ant,
we shall be outcasts of the garden.

Let us cast the pollution from our eyes
so we can see the glory and live with thanksgiving.

Great Spirit, let us remember
it is not how we talk but how we walk.
When we say we love animals, let us protect them.
When we say we that we love the plant people,
let us honor them by living lightly on the earth.
When we say we love the minerals,
let us use them only in necessity,
and remember their rightful places.
Oil belongs in the ground,
not in the air through our wasteful machines.

Wondrous trees, breathing life into the atmosphere:
your gifts of fire and shelter, fruit,
and sailing are precious to us.
And in many ways you offer us leaves of knowledge.

May the vision of mutual interrelatedness,
cosmic interdependence,
the seamless process of generations,
not end in cough-filled skies blotting the sun,
but rather may clear air, healthy forrests,
wholesome water, expansive prairie, and pungent earth
nourish paths for all creatures
through mountain and valley, and the salt sea,
and through a protective atmosphere,
as we rejoice in the inhabitants.

Hear and empower our mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle.

With thanks for the surprise and mystery of it all,
we pray in the name of the Creator,
the Processes and Presences, and all our relations.

(“Earth Day Prayer: In the Spirit of Indigenous Traditions” by Vern Barnet, via UUA’s Prayers for Worship online page)

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In memoriam

Spirit of Life
whom we have called by many names
in thanksgiving and in anguish–

Bless the poets and those who mourn
Send peace for the soldiers who did not make the wars
but whose lives were consumed by them

Let strong trees grow above graves far from home
Breathe through the arms of their branches
The earth will swallow your tears while the dead singe
“No more, never again, remember me.”

For the wounded ones and those who received them back,
let there be someone ready when the memories come
when the scars pull and the buried metal moves
and forgiveness for those of use who were not there
for our ignorance

And in us, veterans in a forest of a thousand fallen promises,
let new leaves of protest grow on our stumps
Give us courage to answer the cry of humanitity’s pain
And with our bare hands, out of full hearts,
with all our intelligence
let us create peace.

~a Memorial Day prayer by Barbara Pescan, from the UUA’s booklet “Bless All Who Serve”


Strong in the broken places

No one survives this world without wounds and pains, without loss and grief.  No one walks this earth without failure, without falling, without being less than they might have been.

And yet, our ability to break keeps us alive.  Our capacity to admit when we are hurt, when we are afraid, when we have lost something precious, and when we have lost hope gives us the opportunity to become stronger.  Unlike our bones when we are physically hurt, our souls and spirits grown stronger than they were before the injury.  Painful places become powerful.  Empty places become full.

We achieve this healing not through a miracle bu by sharing our pain, anguish and hurt with one another.  We tell each other our stories, just as warriors have after battle for thousands of years.  We tell of how we miss those who are gone, of how we regret the place where we failed, of how we were afraid.  We remember lost comrades.  We remember lost hopes.  We remember dreams that seem far away.

Through that sharing, we learn that we are not alone.  Our failures and wounds bind us together in ways no success ever can.  A failure shared is no longer lonely.  A loss shared is something precious found again.  A pain shared is a pain eased.  In sharing with one another, we become strong in the broken places.

David Pyle, Army chaplain.  From the UUA booklet Bless All Who Serve, Edited by Matthew and Gail Tittle