Spirit of Life,
You who rise in us as the impulse
to light candles in the darkness
and share warmth with those who have none:
Now is the time when the cold rains fall
and shreds of mist cling to treetops
in the canyons.
The last of the yellow dogwood leaves are so bright
they light the forests like lanterns,
and the squirrels grow round
with winter fur.
In the deep forests
quiet and darkness abound.
It is the time of rest
and of waiting.
May we too rest.
May we let quiet fill our hearts
and spill over into the hectic world,
calming all who meet us.
May our being be an oasis of peace
and loving kindness
so we light the way like lanterns.
Spirit of Life, source of all love,
Holy mystery containing all that is:
As the nights grow longer and longer,
help us know you as that radiant darkness
in which our deepest dreams come:
those dreams of love, of healing, of peace,
of our world created anew.
Help us not fear the darkness
but welcome it,
and rest in it.
Help us also know you as the flame
of candles and hearths
around whose warming light we gather
to tell each other stories:
giving thanks for all we have,
remembering those who have gone before,
gathering strength to make justice.
May those among us who have much
be granted vision to see and invite in
those who are lonely,
and may the lonely ones
be granted strength
to accept the invitation.
Spirit of Life, source of all change:
The end of autumn is nearly near
and all is darkness and waiting.
In the deep woods the tracks of animals
tell stories of lives unseen:
Bear has found a ground bees’ nest
dug it out
and eaten all the larvae.
Great Blue Heron
whose foot is longer than mine
has hunted in the canal for fish.
Young Raven has dropped sticks from a great height
and then gone to the ground
to see what became of them.
So much life goes on unseen—
at least by us—
because we are busy looking elsewhere.
How much life among humans
How many joys and sorrows
are tucked away in hearts
not quite brave enough to share?
What wells of longing
lie waiting to be tapped
by words of kindness,
a hand held out?
Who is putting on a brave face?
Who is just barely hanging on?
May we look carefully
into one another’s faces.
May we learn to read
each other’s signs.
May we offer each other deep listening
so true stories can emerge.
In this time of darkness and waiting,
help us pay close attention,
so that no life goes unseen.