From the prophet Ezekiel:
Thus says the Lord GOD: I will take a sprig from the top of a cedar; I will break off a tender twig from its uppermost branches and plant it on a high mountain. There it will grow into a noble cedar, producing branches and bearing fruit, and under it the creatures will burrow and in its shade the birds will nest. Then all the trees from field to forest will know that I am the LORD, who makes low trees tall and who cuts low the highest tree, who dries up the green trees and makes the dry trees flourish again. I am the LORD; I will do this. (Ezekiel 17:22-24, adapted)
Imagine the praise of the trees in the fields and the forests! Imagine the hope of the dry trees and the trembling of the tall proud trees! Imagine the prayer of the cedar sprig, newly planted and striving to grow!
You made all things.
You know my weaknesses and my faults-
The improper lines, the too-strong advances,
The petty resentments and indignities that I refuse to shoulder silently
You give me all that I need-
Beyond my food in due season,
You clothe me in broad swaths of deepest green
And give me the songs for my dance....
When we are in congregation,
We lift our arms to you, remembering the source of our joy
Our roots spread their toes, gripping the earth-
Giving our praise lift and balance.
We who are tuned to your voice
Seek to hear its life-giving murmurs all day long.
We cannot bear your silence,
Keep us a-hum by the Spirit's tuning fork,
vibrating to the goodness of your commandsCreate in us new life
As is befitting to your plan
for hope, goodness, and a future
Let us dare to be witnesses
to your greatness, your mercy,
your grace, and your love
Make us instruments of renewal and restoration-
builders of kin-dom and community.
Remember those who depend on us. Do not let them be forgotten.
Grant us the grace to be generous with what you have first given us- all that we have, all that we are, all that we have yet to know.
Do not forget our wounds, O Creator. Do not allow our brokenness to separate us from your love. Draw near to us and heal us. Heal us for service to your holy desires.
Bring us to a good death, O Holy One.
In your kindness, allow us to decrease as you increase.
Grant us a vision of the Eternal Word, enfleshed as Jesus
Who knew the trees as his cradle, his trade, and the means of his death
Allow his presence to pioneer the way and guide us
As we move from one life to the next
In your loving-kindness, bring us to eternal life in you.