My prayer times are extended these days with so many troubling incidents of violence and distress calling to be held in God’s love, peace, and justice.
In the midst of such troubling concerns, you have been writing about the prayers you are offering for creation. As you may have seen in her comment here, Kathryn Randsdell has created a Facebook page called Say a Prayer for All Life in the Gulf of Mexico in response to one of my earlier blogs. And this week the following gift of prayer arrived from Saskatchewan, from United Church minister Margaret McKechney. She has given me permission to share this breathtakingly beautiful way of holding the distress of creatures in the Gulf in our prayers:
A Prayer for the Gulf Waters
Blessed Eternal Presence, sustaining all life from vast ocean depths, we acknowledge with humility the sacred wisdom of the living oceans. The oceans are the lungs of our planet, absorbing carbons that destroy life and resurrecting it in beauty: as coral reef and luminescent creatures of the deep. O Bounteous Generosity—you give us our very breath. Life’s essence abounds in minute plankton, that carry the very spirit of your being—nurturing all life in the sea. The fragile balance of ocean life, tenuously sustained, lies open and vulnerable to human activity.
We lament, with deep regret, the damage done to ocean and land by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This wound upon the very soul of your being, unprecedented in human history, is a cross of unimaginable proportions. We name with reverence those creatures and habitat, for whom these lands are their womb and sustenance. Magnificent frigate birds, piping plover, royal and sandwich terns, brown pelicans whose nesting grounds are sensitive to disturbance, gadwall, shoveller, green-winged teal and snow goose. With great delight the uniquely adapted swimmer, the green sea turtle, swims this Gulf but must find air at the surface. Already endangered, we pray it will find breath.
In wisdom, these waters and marshes, with their cypress trees, spider lilies, swamp roses, cattails, and mesquite brush—gave sanctuary to thousands of migrating song birds, whooping crane, and ducks. Almost no place on this vast continental land will be untouched by wild life of the Gulf region. To us they bring song and beauty, wisdom and a hint of the original bounty of this our Earth. We are reminded also of other living creatures who depend on the life spawned by Gulf waters: the Louisiana black bear already in danger, the estuaries that are nurseries to fish and shellfish.
You, whose dream enlivened these waters with unimaginable richness, help us to catch this delicate vision of life. So vast is the list of beauty and wonder that it sustains, we cannot help but recognize that life itself is suspended in this disaster—gasping for breath. Through the ancient love that brought this universe into being—may the miracle of rebirth and renewal be born again. In the abiding hope that is our faith, we pray. Amen
What poetry of prayer might this inspire in you for the mending of creation in other bioregions?