To the Spirit that is in us and all around us, we pray.
The earth, our home, has made its rotation around the sun yet again. We mark another notch in the story that is our lives. Another year has passed, a new one is already marching on.
May we step forward with intention and grasp the possibilities offered by a new beginning. May the sharpness of these January nights inspire us to find clarity and purpose in our lives. What matters? What shall we choose this year to give our attention to? For we know that when we pay attention to something, it grows.
Let us not be tossed away by the events of each day. Our friends and loved ones and strangers face challenges of all sorts. Help us to be there for them and to know that the simplest act of kindness is often enough. A small imperfect offer of help is better than doing nothing. Listening can be the best gift of all.
There is a crack in our country. There are changes ahead. May we not REACT to the storm of change with fear or anger, but instead ACT with calm resolve to stand up for things we believe in. May we be patient with those we disagree with and listen with an open heart to their perspective while marching firmly in the direction of justice, dignity and peace.
May we find solace and inspiration in this church community. May we be grounded by the earth beneath our feet. May we walk hand-in-hand with all people. Amen
Dear god, spirit of many names, draw near and join our prayers this morning.
Lord, it’s the beginning of a new calendar year.
Some of us face the prospect of the coming year with fears and apprehension.
Help us remember that this has always been so. Life is impermanent. We suffer setbacks. We pray above all for peace in the world, but the wars and fighting continue. We grow old, we grow ill, we die.
The outlook isn’t altogether good.
And yet, And yet. even in the face of this, there are days when we open the front door, look out at the world, and are filled with gratitude. Days when we feel your presence, days when we open the door and can only throw ourselves on the fresh grass weeping with gratitude and joy.
As one of my Buddhist teachers says, the miracle is not to walk on water, the miracle is to be able to walk on the grass. Or today, maybe the snow. We live in New England Lord, so we have lots of snow.
And grass, and warm clothes and enough to eat and loving friends. Help us be grateful for it all.
So yes, this year there will be setbacks, and there will be joy. I think we can count on both, Lord. I pray we can live this year with compassion, both for ourselves, and for our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Help us be generous and compassionate.
Help us remember that our fears concern a future that has not happened yet. Help us be truly present in the every moment, fears and all.
Help us remember that gratitude can be an intentional practice, something we can put on, like a warm coat, every morning.
Help us remember that hope can also be an intentional practice. Like a warm coat, we can chose to put it on when the world is cold.
And finally, today our ministers and lay leaders will begin leading us in discussion, a discussion about the kind of church we are and want to become. A that supports us and our brothers and sisters as we move through the joys and setbacks of life. Help us envision a church that will make you proud.
May it be so, Amen
God, great spirit of goodness,
Steady us as we walk uncertainly through this season.
Help me keep my balance
As “Joy to the World” meets
earthquake in Indonesia and gunfire in Aleppo,
As beyond the Christmas candlelight
I see flaming death in Oakland and Gatlinburg,
As the echo of Sunday’s words of peace is lost
in the din of ideology and insult.
Guide me on the bumpy path past despair and indifference
to the vantage point where I can see
the difference that I might make.
Along the path, God, please
Reveal the nuggets of joy that lie there,
That we all may savor, and share,
Each spark of beauty,
Each note of laughter,
And each word of love. Amen
A Prayer for Spiritual Resilience
Creator Spirit, hear this simple prayer. I need courage during this time of uncertainty. I want to share with you the stories of two courageous exemplars I’ve just met.
Shabir has been here for six years from his home in Kashmir India, where his mother and sisters still live. Their situation is dire and worsening; air is foul and food is scarce. Shabir sends both money and food to assist his family. Yet his attitude is one of bright spirit, optimism and daily gratitude for this life. He exemplifies the resilience needed to thrive and to share his message of hope with me.
Luis has been here for nineteen years from his home in Venezuela where most of his family still live. Their situation is also dire and worsening. Food is only available by waiting in long lines and paying sky rocketing prices for basic needs. Luis sends both money and food back home to help sustain his family. And Luis, too, presents a bright and positive attitude and a firm belief that human kind is above all adaptable. “We adapt because we must; it’s how we survive.”
I pray to remain mindful of these two teachers and their uncommon example of courage, hopefulness and spiritual resilience. They have inspired me, just when I’ve most needed inspiration. When the challenge is great we must ‘adapt’ to live and thrive. The teachers we meet are the ones we need. Amen
that the universe has unfolded
to find us here together this morning, on this week of Thanksgiving.
And how thoughtful of our predecessors to provide us with this spare church,
for when our other one is in the shop.
Fortune has indeed shone our way.
And yet, Fortuna, she is a fickle goddess
and for those who, this year, have had your hearts crushed by her capricious turns,
we pray for you, we pray for us,
that we may find the equanimity to look back with contentment.
And yet more so,
that we may find the grit to look forward with hope,
to believe in the future,
to find some divine wellspring of productive optimism
that will rekindle our will to move forward,
and that will remind us
that the world is in need of our light.
On this week of giving thanks, we pray,
that we may once again be dazzled
by the countless commonplace luxuries that we enjoy,
but so often fail to really enjoy.
And yet more so,
that we may see through these shiny things,
and again touch the core of our true blessings.
This week, we pray
that we may see with unjaded eyes:
what we have,
how we live,
who we love,
and – so easy to take for granted – those who actually love us back.
As we gather this week,
may we remember to look up,
in sincere appreciation,
at those who show their love for us
by coming all that way, by inviting us over,
by making that dish we like.
By listening to our stories, laughing at our lame jokes,
by overlooking our many faults.
May we show them the same love,
take a bit of everything. Amen
Holy Spirit, we come to thee with bewilderment at the stunning transformation of the emerald leaves into the fiery hues of fall, constituting thy brilliant announcement of the end of the fecundity of summer and preparation for the bleakness of winter. May we be buoyed by the magnificence of the harvest, in this, Thy world of overflowing cornucopia. May we thrust ourselves joyfully into the rhythms of life, with our celebration of the darkness of the Solstice, and our revelry in the luminance of the Advent season.
We thank thee for the noble institutions of our nation, providing for the will of the people to periodically change their leadership, and for our tradition of comity in transferring the awesome power of our government. We thank thee for teaching us tolerance and respect for one another’s insight into our world, and for our sense of security that, in E Pluribus Unum, we honor our diverse opinions, resulting in sagacious decisions for governing ourselves.
We thank thee for the valor of the 21 million living intrepid men and women who have donned the cloth of our nation and taken up arms in our defense, frequently at great personal peril, but in doing so manifest the timeless virtues of selfless courage, and devotion to duty. It is their toil that allows us to bathe in the sublime liberty that Thou hast bestowed upon us. May we honor them and fulfill our commitments to them — especially those scarred by violence on our behalf.
We pray for thy sacred blessing of our flawed selves, as we strive to honor the spirit of Jesus and the service of all. Amen.
We give thanks for this sacred space
formed by these walls and by the people within them.
We give thanks for perspective we gain from this time together,
may we all find what we need:
peace, solace, music, community, wisdom, inspiration, and the divine.
May we also find here some refuge
from the incessant rattle of wisdom-less information,
and from the marketers
of stuff and things and of politicians
who sing us songs evermore sophisticated and alluring,
evermore trivial and degrading.
In life (as in politics) let us not be swayed by those who,
for their own advantage, not ours,
would magnify our differences and obscure
the self-evident truth of our equality.
May we find the strength to resist
the delicious warm glow of angry certainty,
that we are so righteously right
and they so wickedly wrong.
May we not confuse differences of opinion with differences in our humanity.
May we instead seek to rediscover what has been here all along;
the broad common space where we can work together towards our common goals.
Let us patriots recommit ourselves to that most central common ground;
the love of truth.
And, with some help from our better angels,
to build a more perfect union,
and to be thoughtful stewards
of this space,
and of our families, our friendships, communities, nations, and the living world. Amen
Dear Lord, I come here today costumed as an Earth angel . No, not the one from the song, an angel for the earth, the angel that cares for the earth and all her beings.
I love the wings. They make me feel strong and secure, not afraid.
This is the time of year for spirits, All Hallows Eve, when the veil between the world of the living and the world of the spirits grows thin.
Sometimes we get scared of things we can’t see or don’t understand. May we always remember that we can reach out to You, our family, our friends, this church and all good people of the world and they will be there to help us feel safe.
So today dear Lord, we dress up in costumes (and maybe scare each other a little bit) to honor good spirits and to keep bad spirits away. May it be so. Amen.
This morning we offer a collective prayer of thanksgiving for this safe place where we privately meditate and publicly pray. Where we gather seeking refuge from the storms of nature, of others, and ourselves.
As we flow deeper into prayer let us prepare for November ninth, when the long-running circus leaves town but the ground quakes in aftershocks that crackle civility.
Help us to be boorishly incorrect and stand firm with smiles and acts of kindness as we recognize we are all “others” to others and are united in our otherness rather than disunited by our differences.
On wings of prayer we seek to rise above what Charles Blow has described as an impulse to conflate our transforming economy with the changing accents and colors of hope.
Give us strength to find courage to know that rage cannot sooth the Uber disruption of inherited medallions of purloined privilege.
In your name, spirit of many shapes and languages, guide us to embrace our otherness in the otherness of others. Amen
Great Spirit of Life,
Let us come together in prayer and calm our minds from the busyness of the week and listen quietly to the still, small, voice that speaks of our needs and the needs of others. Bring into the silence our hopes and dreams and the courage to face the challenges and barriers on our journey through this wonderful life.
Please bring into our hearts those among us who are dealing with both exciting and challenging changes in their lives. Changes in health, the loss of a loved one, the adjustments to a new job, a new love or family member or even a new driver’s license. Remind us that some lessons are painful, some are painless, but all are priceless.
I for one am thankful for the courage and humanity shown by Michele Obama for the epic speech she delivered this week.
Our road can be long and windy with quite a few forks in the road. Help us select our thoughts to make even the uphills feel great. Let’s accept the wrong turns and have the patience to discover that we will find ourselves back on the road again. Oh, and when the past calls, we’ll let it go to voicemail and remember to smile and enjoy the journey.
Back against the rough barn
Prayer slips over small garden plots
Urging me to pocket
The honey wagon of texts and tweets
And see the beauty before me.
Nature, not Emerson’s, but my own
Dancing corn-colored sunflowers,
A perched hawk above my head, and
Codman’s white donkey munching dry grass.
Crop-empty gardens harvest the wrong puzzle;
“Why is it over so soon?”
“How am I doing with this life?”
The question is straightforward yet
My search twists and swirls like the bark of a catalpa tree
While the sinking sun shades the prayer a deeper green,
Highlighting red autumn leaves
Until I discover
The answer is in the question.
With an Eeyore bray
The donkey mocks my slowness
The hawk lifts away
Leaving the stillness of a great spirit
Offering grace in the smallest of nature’s gifts
Great Spirit of Life,
As we come together in prayer, let us embrace the spirit of new beginnings and reflect about our lives today. For some, we are closing an old chapter and beginning anew. May we renew our energy, sharpen our vision and restore our patience as we find the direction to be our best and to open our hearts to a spirit of love and connection.
Help us to live from a place of gratitude. We are thankful for this spiritual community and to all those who lead us with their enthusiasm, confidence, and inspiration.
May we always find ways to reach out to those in need and help in any way we can.
- Please bring into our hearts and pray for all those among us who need to feel the warmth of love in their lives. Help them to build friendships and to find love.
- Give hope to those who are struggling, in poor health or low in spirit.
- Please give comfort to those who are grieving.
- Create safe haven to those who suffer the attacks of others. Give them the courage to stand up for what is right, and keep them safe from injustice and harm.
- And, help us all to know that we are more than we know.
Great Spirit of Life, may we rise to meet the challenges of a new church year with greater awe and gratitude and with deeper kindness and acceptance. Help us to question our own assumptions and listen with an open mind and have more courageous acts of conviction so that we may create a kinder, more equitable and sustainable world. Amen
With all our hearts and with all our minds, we offer prayers, silent and spoken. We pray together with gratitude for our many blessings, and we ask for your help where we have fallen short, and for those in need of our love.
Dear God, hear our prayers
For the good earth, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it, for seasonable weather,
for rain to renew drought stricken lands, and for healthy sustainable food.
Dear God, hear our prayers
For those who are infirm, suffering or alone, for poor and oppressed peoples, for prisoners and captives, and for all who remember to care for them.
Dear God, hear our prayers
For our clergy, and all people dedicated to working on reconciliation among fractured communities here and abroad. For local and national leaders, may they strive for civility and humanity.
Dear God, hear our prayers
For all who have died, may their souls shine down. For loving-kindness, and for the unity of all peoples.
That we may live our lives intentionally with faith and hope, and the peace of God that passes all understanding. Amen.
As summer draws its final breath, Summer warmth and light begins to wane
We soak up the last bit of sun’s warmth. Let us take a last sip and taste all the adventures of
summer. Help us remember and meditate with the memories of the lazy summer days: basking in the late afternoon sun with the warm breeze.
Fall is slowly stretching in
The chill air is painting the hills and trees with its brush with color
As the leaves transform, change color and fall to the ground, they tell their story of the past year and
blanket the earth preparing us for the upcoming colder months. The trees slowly become exposed as the leaves fall off making them more vulnerable.
Help us to take a deep, slow and cleansing breath as we plunge back into the schedule of fall. Let us carry a fallen leaf from summer with us as we sprint into our fall schedules to help remind us of quieter, slower moments. Let us bask in the glory of the warm sun, the crisp air, the cooler evenings and the color transformations of the trees.
Just like the leaves changing color and falling from the trees, our church is changing in preparation for renovation. Just like the fallen leaves tell their story of the past year, the church shares all the rich and wonderful memories and
history that were created over the many years. As we start rebuilding, we are very lucky to be blanketed by the Stone Church and First Parish community. We are not exposed or vulnerable like the fall/winter trees but an ever transforming and evolving sanctuary and community. Help guide us and remind us to be patient through these transformational and seasonal times. Teach us to see the beauty of these changes.
Lastly remind us to be grateful for
this space of quietude, this moment to slow down,
for our rich history of the two churches.
And for the protected blanket of this community and Stone Church as we go through the renovation.
Water Communion Prayer
It is that time of our coming together again. From near and far we are here to create a place for reflection, inquiry, for singing, for peace and community.
We have also come here today bringing water from many places. We never question the availability of our right to clean, fresh water.
But there are some in our larger community who are dealing with that right now.
Great spirit of us all please help us to affirm the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to protect their water and areas of sacred ground that could be compromised by the oil pipeline that would run just north of the border of their lands.
Please help them find a peaceful solution to this conflict. Water is Life. May it always and everywhere be protected and safe and free.
Finally, God, thank you for giving us this sacred space to worship in while our beloved church down the hill is being renewed. The walls and windows here are beautiful and I hope we will fill it each week with a loving and diverse community to speak and sing in Your presence. May it be so. Amen.