Friday, August 15, 2008

A Prayer for the World

This week in coffee shops and supermarkets, in chance encounters along the trails, people could be overheard commenting that summer has finally made an appearance in the Bow Valley. It is now the beginning of August and I will readily agree that these past days have been particularly beautiful in this mountain valley. Warm, sunny days with hardly a cloud to obscure the blue sky, followed by a refreshing cooling as the day draws to a close with remarkable sunsets painting the sky and highlighting the mountain landscape with splashes of color.

I have made a special effort these past evenings to move onto the front deck of my home where I can enjoy the surrounding mountains and watch in awe as the pace of the weary day is hushed and made ready to be renewed by a night’s peaceful rest. On the table beside me are some of my favorite inspirational books and tucked in their pages are various scraps of paper, each having something written on it that has inspired or had meaning for me: a quote, a thought, a prayer.

At my feet and running the full thirty foot length of the deck is a flower garden lovingly nurtured by my wife Margaret. You would have to ask Margaret if you wanted to know the names of all the plants all I can tell you is how much I appreciate their beauty, scents and texture as well as the bees and hummingbirds which they attract.

As I follow the advice given in the first verse of Psalm 121 I allow my gaze to rise from the garden to Mount Rundle across the valley. The sun is about to disappear behind the mountain peak and the sky is painted an indescribable array of pinks, reds and purples. I find myself holding my breath as if doing so could prolong the wonder and beauty of this moment.

Slowly I relax my gaze and reach for one of the books at my side. As I lift a book one of the slips of paper drops to the deck. I reach for it and begin to read the prayer written upon it. To my amazement the last two lines of the prayer read:

“Let the Earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.”

The prayer is called A Prayer for the World and it was written by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner. As I read this prayer I became convinced that this was the perfect and respectful way to end my day. It also occurred to me that the Rabbi’s prayer could be said by persons of all faiths and even people with no faith.

I share it with you now hoping that it will touch you as it has me and that tomorrow you will awaken to a new day equal in awe and wonder as the one I have just enjoyed.

Rev. Frank Doe
Spiritual Director,
Rocky Mountain Centre for Progressive Faith and Works Ltd.

A Prayer for the World

“Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the Sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see beyond the labels,
beyond accents, gender, or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the Sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the Sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the Earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.

- Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

God"s love is for all creation

God"s love is for all creation
God has many names