In this prayer from the Chinook Psalter, observations of the seasonal renewal at work in nature lead into a prayer that a similar renewal might happen within each of us.

I encourage you to do more than just read through the words of the prayer, to also apply them. Ideally, sit outside as you read this post, observing what you see around you. In the northern hemisphere where I live, signs of spring are obvious, but if you live in a different part of the world, signs of renewal may be more subtle this time of year. If it is autumn for you, can you still see signs of energy and renewal?

New Fern Fronds

Everywhere is the green of new growth,
The amazing sight of the renewal of the earth.
We watch the grass once again emerging from the ground.
We notice the bright green atop the dark green on the pine,
   the fir, the hemlock, the spruce, the cedar.
The alder is already in leaf.
The old plum trees still blossom, leaf and give forth fruit.
The locust is late as always.
Everywhere and always the song of birds … bees raiding the
   orchard, raccoon prowling at nightfall, the earthworm
   tunneling the garden, chickens and rabbits pecking and
   nibbling, the goats tugging to reach new delights … all are
   the ubiquitous energies of life.

Chipmunk, photo by Louise Conner

O Lord,
May we today be touched by grace, fascinated and moved
   by this your creation, energized by the power of
   new growth at work in your world.
May we move beyond viewing this life only through a frame,
       but
   touch it and be touched by it,
   know it and be known by it,
   love it and be loved by it.
May our bodies, our minds, our spirits, learn a new rhythm
   paced by the rhythmic pulse of the whole created order.
May spring come to us, be in us, and recreate life in us.

Hiking with My Daughter, the Tree-Hugger, photo by Louise Conner

May we forge a new friendship with the natural world and
   discover a new affinity with beauty, with life, and with
   the Cosmic Christ in whom all things were created in
   heaven and on earth, visible or invisible, whether
   thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities …
   for all things were created through him and for him.
In his name.
Amen.

from The Chinook Psalter

Dandelion

This prayer begins by pointing me to a posture of stillness and observation. I find it much easier to listen and pay attention if I'm not talking. When you are quiet and observant, what do you notice? Where do you see activity? What new thing do you learn, or what old thing are you reminded of?

You might want to take a few notes of your own about what you see happening around you. Where do you see renewal as you look around? If you don't see anything at first, look a little closer—the world is alive all around us, but sometimes it is harder to see in the particular place or time where we are.

A Young Friend Birdwatching, photo by Louise Conner

The second section of the prayer invites us to open ourselves to what we see and experience and allow it to change us. All of this creation has God's imprint on it and because of that, it can lead us into truths about its maker and about ourselves. Open up your emotions and senses as well as your mind to the creation around you.

Knowing about something is not the same as knowing something. Try to get to know this creation a little better as you pray this prayer. Listen, smell, look, touch, taste what is happening in your particular corner of creation. Allow yourself to experience joy because you are part of this creation. Let yourself love the rest of creation and feel loved by it.

Baby Juncos in a Hanging Basket, photo by Louise Conner

In the final section of the prayer, allow yourself to slip out of a place of authority over the created world and into a place of humility within it. Acknowledge Jesus as present in the creation around you—sustaining it by his love and power. Let your love for the created world strengthen your love for him and let your love for him strengthen your love for your fellow members of creation. Sit with the realization that you are a fellow creature with all else that God has made.

After opening up yourself to the creation around you, pray this prayer again. Do you experience it differently when you pray it through a second time?

Everywhere is the green of new growth,
The amazing sight of the renewal of the earth.
We watch the grass once again emerging from the ground.
We notice the bright green atop the dark green on the pine,
   the fir, the hemlock, the spruce, the cedar.
The alder is already in leaf.
The old plum trees still blossom, leaf and give forth fruit.
The locust is late as always.
Everywhere and always the song of birds … bees raiding the
   orchard, raccoon prowling at nightfall, the earthworm
   tunneling the garden, chickens and rabbits pecking and
   nibbling, the goats tugging to reach new delights … all are
   the ubiquitous energies of life.

O Lord,
May we today be touched by grace, fascinated and moved
   by this your creation, energized by the power of
   new growth at work in your world.
May we move beyond viewing this life only through a frame,
       but
   touch it and be touched by it,
   know it and be known by it,
   love it and be loved by it.
May our bodies, our minds, our spirits, learn a new rhythm
   paced by the rhythmic pulse of the whole created order.
May spring come to us, be in us, and recreate life in us.

May we forge a new friendship with the natural world and
   discover a new affinity with beauty, with life, and with
   the Cosmic Christ in whom all things were created in
   heaven and on earth, visible or invisible, whether
   thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities …
   for all things were created through him and for him.
In his name.
Amen.

Louise

*The Chinook Psalter was from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer translated in the 19th Century into the Indigenous trade language of the Pacific Northwest and then re-translated into English)

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