In the Face of Such Beauty

Spirit of Life, mysterious energy that enlivens all beings:

Now is the time when rainclouds swathe the hillsides and then race away on cold winds.
Mossy trees backlit by bright sun are limned in green fire,
and water droplets on twigs shine like silver pearls.

The air is so fresh and clean that we cannot get enough of its sweetness.
We breathe in more deeply and more often
than is strictly necessary.

It seems impossible in the face of such beauty
that the drums of war should beat…
and yet they do.

That children should be in any danger at all…
and yet they are.

That so much life should be on the brink of collapse…
and yet it is.

In times like these, what can we do?  How can we live?

Help us open our hearts.

Help us open our hearts so wide and so deep
that when we look upon the suffering and danger all around us
we feel no fear, but only love and compassion.

Only love and compassion
which we then give away
the way you give us rain and sunlight and fresh sweet air—
freely, in abundance, with no hesitation and no holding back.

Help us open our hearts to love.

Blessed be.

You… Shining (A Prayer for Yom Kippur)

Great Spirit of Life, Mysterious energy
that moves in and through all things:

Our old unwanted thoughts and habits
lie underfoot like the old leaves
that now begin to fall
on your hillsides.
We may have needed them once,
but no more.

Send the sweet rain
of Your love and compassion
that these old things
may be transformed
into rich soil for new growth.

And as feathery moss awakens
to the touch of rain,
and sends out new, seeking tendrils,
may we be made so fresh, and alive, and alert,
that when we look into each other’s faces
we see… You, shining.


Open Our Hearts

Spirit of Life,
You who body forth
as our starry universe
and this luminous,
blue-green planet:

Now is our hot blue and gold time,
when the air smells of oaks
and pines and dry grasses,
crickets sing all night,
and the rivers get lower and warmer.

Grapes swell with the liquid sunshine
that delights our tongues
sunflowers and zinnias bloom
in glorious colors
and zucchini plants run riot in the gardens.

Help us ground ourselves
in all this beauty
so we can open our hearts.

Help us open our hearts so wide
and so deep
that they can fill with
an entire ocean of love.
Help us feel the joy of that love.

Help us open our hearts so deep
and so wide
that they can hold all the pain
of this suffering world,
and soothe it with our love.

Help us open our hearts to one another.
Move through us as compassion
for all those who fear
and all those who mourn.
Move through us as celebration for all
who are experiencing great joy.

And help us know who we really are:
each a beloved, essential being,
all part of one great
living breathing changing shining whole
whose nature is love.

Help us open our hearts to love.

Blessed be.

Easter Prayer

Spirit of Life, you who are the greening of the world:

May we know you as that force which holds
the earth among the stars
and brings the sap rising in the maples.

May we know you as the deliciousness
of the sun’s warmth
and the movement of air
on our faces in spring.

May we know you as the urgent beckoning
that draws salmon up into streams
and eagles back to their nests.

May we know you as that in us
which responds to beauty with awakening
and to suffering with compassion;
which cries out for justice
and draws us together to create it.

In this time of the renewal of life
may we have the wisdom to know
that paradise is here and now
if we will but make it so.

Blessed be.

Our Shared Life

Spirit of Life,
Great ocean of compassion
in which we live and move and have our being:

Here is a truth we know well:
there is suffering in life.
When we encounter suffering,
our own or that of others,
may we gather together
to bring one another comfort.
May we speak of our pain together
so none of us is alone.
May we learn from what we share.
May we make meaning from it.

And here is another truth we know well:
there is great beauty in life.
There is great joy.
When our cup is filled to the brim
with beauty and joy,
may we gather together in celebration.
May we sing songs of wonder and praise.
May we be thankful for our shared life.

Blessed be.