Tag Archives: community-facing ministry

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 19

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 19

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Prayer for the Otakaro-Avon River

We gather on the bank to pray for this river
that was here long before us,
and will continue to flow
long after we have gone.

Let us give thanks
for the snow-fed aquifers,
and the peaceful springs
that birth and sustain her life
every day, every moment;
and for the little streams and creeks
that make her stronger
as she flows through our city
towards the sea.

We celebrate the life that is within her –
the micro-vertebrates,
the inanga,
the eels,
the fish…

We rejoice in the beautiful birds
that grace her waters,
that she supports –
the waterfowl and
their songs that are heard
day and night
along her reaches.

We give thanks
for the sustenance she has provided
so generously, constantly
for the people of this place
ever since the first ones came here,
food for body, mind and soul
for generation after generation.

Yet our gratitude and joy
are coloured with sorrow
our spirits are troubled
as we can see with our own eyes
how polluted she has become,
how much she suffers.

We know that she is burdened
by what we have asked her to carry,
and she has lost much of her sparkle
her vitality, her spirit…

Her waters are polluted with the wastes
of the city, chemicals, effluent,
and a tide of human refuse,
debris from a careless throwaway society.

O Creator, forgive our lack of respect
our failure to love and cherish
this beautiful, life-giving river.

We have built a city around her
and asked her to do things
we should never have asked,
we have treated her like a drain,
a convenience, a waste disposable unit
for all the things we don’t want.

We know that it will take
a transformed city
to heal and restore her
to fullness of life.

Transform our hearts and minds,
change us deeply so that we begin
to take responsibility
for our abusive behaviour.

Holy Spirit, count us in,
give us the strength and wisdom,
the aroha and grace
to return the love and life
we have so freely been given.

As she has blessed
may this spirited river
be blessed
by all who live here.

Amen.

— New Brighton 2014

From The In-Between Land: Psalms, Poems and Haiku by Mark Gibson (2015)

Click here to Order Print books and here for eBooks

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 10

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 10

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

41. Thanksgiving for Winter

God of all seasons,
we give you thanks
for the grey wet mornings,
for the cold southerly days,
for the mist that hovers in the hills,
and the fog that blankets the river valleys,
for the fresh snow on the ranges and mountain tops,
for the clear sharp sunny days
that follow the frosts,
for all that makes winter
a time to dress snugly and keep warm.
We give thanks for the reserves
 of silage and hay and winter feed
to supplement the needs of stock,
for the long acre and the electric fence,
for the pruning of fruit trees
and grape vines,
for the season of rugby, league and football,
for hockey and netball,
for golf, and for pony club,
for dog trials and other sporting and social events,
for raincoats, swanndris and gumboots,
for roaring fires, hot soup and scones
and safe shelter from winter’s chills.

From The Shepherd’s Call – Te Karanga o te Hēpara:
Prayers and liturgies for rural Aotearoa New Zealand
By Bill Bennett (2018)

Click here to Order Print books and here for eBooks

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 4

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 4

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

33. A Farmer’s Prayer for Daily Work

O God, in the burst of spring growth,
let me rejoice.

In the first plantings of crops,
bring me hope.

In the summer heat,
shade me.

In the dried up hills
water me.

In the harvest work
sustain me.

In the big decisions
guide me.

In the autumn chill
warm me.

In the driving rain
shelter me.

From the howling winds
protect me.

In the slush and mud
encourage me.

In the lonely hours
stand by me.

In the beauty of each dawn,
let me wonder at your creation,
and the peace of the earth.

From The Shepherd’s Call – Te Karanga o te Hēpara:
Prayers and liturgies for rural Aotearoa New Zealand
By Bill Bennett (2018)

Click here to Order Print books and here for eBooks

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 1

Prayer / Poem of the Week # 1

Come back each Monday night for a free prayer or poem from one of the books we have published.

Psalm 5

My friends, sometimes the best thing we can do is go to the beach,
or wander into the wetlands, to get close to the divine again.

The challenges we people of the east are dealing with at times seem
as high as the Southern Alps, and they can get us down, really down.

So taking time out of the mire and the mess to restore our waning spirits
is on some days simply essential.

On the beach I can gain a better perspective on things.
The vastness of the ocean reminds me of the immensity of God’s love.
It extends way beyond the horizon that I can see.
There is nothing that I am facing or in the grip of
that God’s love cannot absorb and transform.

When I really listen to the roar of the ocean,
instead of the noise of my thoughts,
I can hear God saying this over and over again.
The surf seems to shout eternally, “L-o-v-e,” in one long rolling sound…

When I feel the fresh, clean wind blowing on my face
there is a sense of being cleansed.
All the heavy things that pollute and clutter my mind
are somehow wonderfully dispersed.

So what I’m really trying to say is that a walk on the beach
can be a holy and healing experience.

As Adam and Eve discovered the divine walking in the Garden,
and Galilee fishermen experienced the same presence
in Jesus walking on the lakeshore,
we too can experience the divine walking with us on New Brighton beach.

It is the go to place when we are looking for new inspiration
and release from things that bind and blind us.

The quiet wetlands are another place to go to get closer to God.
Amongst that great seeping silence there is space to be and meditate.

On a still day all that breaks the silence is the song of birds.
There is something calming and comforting being close
to these beautiful and graceful creatures.
Like the dove that hovered over Jesus
they speak powerfully of the presence of God’s Spirit.

O God, draw us again to the places of beauty and life that surround us.
In these sacred places restore our strength and health.

From The In-Between Land: Psalms, Poems and Haiku by Mark Gibson (2015)

Click here to Order Print books and here for eBooks