Here you will find prayers and reflections for the Green Season (the season that begins on Pentecost Sunday), including original responsive prayers for use in worship services. I hope you find something to draw you deeper into this holy season.
Note that in all responsive prayers, the Leader's words are shown in plain text, and the People's response in bold italic.

Beautiful Words

puff singleA Royal Wedding Song
Beautiful words fill my mind,
as I compose this song for Love,
Like the pen of a good writer
my tongue is ready with a poem.
                   — adapted from Psalm 45:1, trans. Good News
♥ ♥ ♥
The summer ends, and it is time
To face another way….
— Wendell Berry, excerpted from “The Summer Ends,” A Timbered Choir

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these words from wise ones. Then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

A Thanksgiving Reflection – Time On Our Side

If there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

If there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Went to church on Thanksgiving morning. I got to be one of the lectors, my all-time favorite church job. Had the great pleasure of reading aloud these perfect-for-the-day words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8. (Emphasis added by yours truly.)

During sermon time, members of the congregation stood and said what we were thankful for.

Jane stood and said she was thankful for life. The goodness of life. She didn’t mention that her husband Bob and a beloved daughter-in-law had both died during the past year. But she was among friends; we knew those facts. They were with us, hovering behind and between her truthful words.

Mary stood and spoke about her beloved companion Ruff, who also died this past year. She told about praying with friends at the vet’s office during his last moments of life. Later in the service, Mary carried Ruff’s ashes with her up to communion.

I stood and said that, as the years go by, I grow more and more thankful for time. The way, over time, things look different, and that’s a good thing. I’m thankful that, as time passes, it seems to be possible to actually gain small bits of wisdom.

I happened to stand up after Jane and before Mary, but I didn’t mean my words to refer to either woman’s grief, or to how “time heals all wounds.” Wouldn’t presume, and not sure it works that way anyway. I was just talking about myself. That’s what we do, most of the time.

And when speaking of those small bits of wisdom that come with time, I didn’t mean to deny the wisdom of youth, to imply that the young are foolish and the old wise. The young have their own wisdom. We oldsters delude ourselves if we think that we can retain youth’s wisdom in its entirety, and just pack on more sagacity over time.

No, something of youth’s wisdom is lost across the passing years. A type of courage, maybe, that comes from having your whole life in front of you.

And yet, something is gained in time as well. Only now, looking back, can I see the good in it. Time brings the possibility of forgiveness, and the possibility of healing. Forgiveness for sins that, when committed, seemed unforgivable. Healing of wounds that, when inflicted, felt fatal.

Over time, life offers new possibilities. You move along the path, and your perspective changes. At certain moments, the way ahead broadens into a wide plain. More aspects of life comes into the fold of understanding.

You suffer more, and so come to a better understanding of  the nature of suffering. And of its ubiquity. As a result, compassion grows.

Heroes fall before your eyes and turn into human beings. Villains weep in your presence and turn into human beings. So the fold enlarges, and enlarges again.

I’m thankful for time, for its breadth, and for the possibilities that lie all along its path — past, present, and future.

Dear God, help me open my arms and embrace this life I am given. Grant me the courage to examine the past with compassion, to live in the present with a whole heart, and to look ahead with hope. Amen.

Prayers as Autumn Turns Toward Winter

Leaf SkeletonResponsive prayers by Christine Hemp, appropriate for use on any Sunday near the end of the Green Season.

 

Good morning, dear Creator. It’s November. Night comes upon us quickly now, and the Southerlies swirl the leaves of last summer around the corners of our houses. Your Word today, however, is ripe with new creation hidden in the midst of chaos. Yet again, paradox lies at the heart of our relationship with you. May we hold it close.

Blow us toward you, O Creator, for our only true safety is in your hands, in the folds of your skirts. [Read more…]

Puff Balls on All Saints Day

Nature Journal - Puff BallsLate afternoon on Nov. 1, All Saints Day.

It’s been cloudy all day, no rain.

I’m sitting on an old towel that I laid on the labyrinth path outside my office door.

From out of the woods I hear the croaks of tree frogs. Kinglets twitter and flutter above and on all sides of me. Faintly in the distance, the sound of automobile traffic.

Thanks to the autumn wind, the labyrinth path is newly surfaced with plum leaves, cedar fronds, and fir needles.

Small puff balls have sprung up all along the way.

Prayers to the Lover of Souls

Group PrayerResponsive prayers by Thomas Robb, appropriate for use on any Sunday in the Green Season.

 

Lord, you are our delight.  Our trust is in you alone.
Quiet our busy thoughts. Let us listen for God’s Voice.

(Silence.)

[Read more…]

High Wind and Fire – A Poem for Pentecost

High Wind and Fire

A poem for Pentecost by William Maxwell

 

On that first Pentecost
the wind and the fire were only hints
of what was about to happen:
[Read more…]

Prayers for God’s Spirit

Responsive prayers by Roberta Hiday, appropriate for use on Pentecost Sunday.

Our God—we, your people, stand ready and open to receive the flame of your Spirit. Give us the ability to speak your truth so that others may hear.

Come, Spirit of Truth, fill our hearts.  [Read more…]

Prayers for the Breath of God

Responsive prayers appropriate for use on Pentecost Sunday. The opening lines are taken from an invocation written for the Iona Community in Scotland. The main body of the prayers is by Margaret D. McGee.

 Breath of God, Breath of Life, Breath of Deepest Yearning,
Come, Holy Spirit.

[Read more…]

Prayers to Creator, Child, and Spirit – Trinity Sunday

Responsive prayers by Christine Hemp, appropriate for use on Trinity Sunday.

We pray fervently this morning, Lord, for your Church—that it may delight in its mission and tip its ear to the needs inside and outside its doors. We ask that you guide all those who minister, who cultivate your garden.  [Read more…]

Beloved, Embrace Us In Your Mercy

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, appropriate for use any Sunday in the Green Season.

 

Let us join our voices together in prayer to the One God – Creator, Lover, and Friend:

Beloved, embrace us in your mercy.

We put our trust in you. [Read more…]

Prayers for the Seeds of Love

Responsive prayers by Ann H. Raymond, appropriate for use in connection with Vacation Bible School or other children’s programming.

In peace we pray to you, our God.

Silence

For all people who sow the seed of God’s love in their daily life and work; [Read more…]

Lammas – The Feast of the Early Harvest

This video of tent spider webs and ripening Oregon grape was taken in the woods of the Pacific Northwest on the day before Lammas, also known as the Feast of the Early Harvest.

 

Prayers in the Courtyard of All Souls

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, appropriate for use at the start of a new season of programming, on All Saints or All Souls day, or any Sunday during the Green Season.

In this courtyard of all souls, let us stand together and pray to the One who brings us, every day, out of death and into life.

[Read more…]

O Holy One, Source of Mercy, Might, and Love

Responsive prayers by Margaret D. McGee, appropriate for any Sunday in the Green Season.

 

O Holy One, source of mercy, might, and love,

Make us your people, so that in life and death we belong to you alone.

[Read more…]

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for All Creation

Written by Bill Dengler, these responsive prayers are appropriate for Thanksgiving Day,  Stewardship in-gatherings, Creation Care Sunday, and Earth Day celebrations.

 

We offer thanks, O God, for all the wonders of your creation,

 

Haiku_Moon_Resized_BBthe planets, stars, and all that moves through the infinite expanse of space [Read more…]

Sharing God’s Soul: A Homily for the Day of Judgement

I have always identified with the goats more than with the sheep.

Sharing God’s Soul

Homily for the Day of Judgement

by

Margaret D. McGee

It was with no joy that I saw I had been assigned to preach on the last Sunday before Advent. I actively disliked the assigned gospel lesson, a depiction of the Day of Judgement in which the good sheep are separated from the bad goats.

And if I didn’t want to preach about heaven and hell, my main alternative would be to wrestle with the day’s theme of “Christ the King,” another religious metaphor that doesn’t do much for me.

So I ended up sticking with the sheep and the goats. [Read more…]

Prayers For The New Year

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use on the first Sunday of the New Year, or any Sunday in Epiphany or the  Green Season.

 

Oh God, lover of peace and concord,

Bless and prosper the ministries of all the shepherds you have sent to care for us. Lead our “fractious Body of Christ” to love one another as you love us. [Read more…]

Prayers for New Beginnings

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use on Advent I, or during the Green Season at the start of a new year of programming.

 

I beg you pray with me this morning for all of the various spiritual leaders of the world, and particularly the clergy of our church whose tasks so often resemble herding cats. [Read more…]

You Shall Be Holy

Lois HollyYou Shall Be Holy

A Guest Homily by

Lois Holly

Several times in the course of my life, I have made pacts with myself to read the Bible straight through in a year. I’ve forgotten the exact formula. I think maybe it was three chapters in the morning and two at night and you could complete the entire Bible in 365 days.

Well, Genesis was great—with wonderful stories and larger than life characters. And Exodus was good—with Moses and Pharaoh and burning bushes and the parting of the Red Sea. Real Cecil B. DeMille stuff!!

AND THEN I’D GET TO LEVITICUS !! [Read more…]

Meditation for All Saints Day

“Do not let your hearts be troubled… In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.”  —  John 14:1-4

The Rev. Kenneth J. Scott, Fisherman

The Rev. Kenneth J. Scott, Fisherman

When I was a kid visiting my mother’s parents in West Virginia, my grandfather used to take my brother and sister and me fishing with him. First, we’d go to the backyard compost pile that fed my grandmother’s flower garden. [Read more…]

Out of the Boomerang Trap

GodHaveMercyFramedOut of the Boomerang Trap

A Homily for the Green Season

by

Margaret D. McGee

 

Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: [Read more…]

Prayers to God-With-Us

That’s Tom Robb, who wrote these prayers, in the middle row beside his wife, Anita.

Responsive prayers by Thomas Robb, for use any Sunday in the Green Season.

Out of the depths of our brokenness we lift our needs and concerns to you, Lord.

God-With-Us, pour out your Holy Wisdom upon us.

[Read more…]

Welcome

Green Season IconWelcome

Homily in the Green Season

by

Margaret D. McGee

 

Good morning. Welcome. It’s good to be alive and together on this beautiful Sunday.

God says to Abraham, “Abraham,” and Abraham says, “Here I am.” God says, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love … and offer him … as a burnt offering on [a mountain] that I shall show you.”

[Read more…]

Prayers For a Safe and Open Place

Responsive prayers by Kathy Couch, appropriate for use any Sunday during the Green Season. 

 

We pray for the Universal Church, that it may thrive and grow in your world, creating a safe and open place for all your holy people.

May we faithfully serve you as we strive for unity. [Read more…]

Making the Summer Getaway Last

Outdoor Seating

One of the many quirky architectural details in my hometown of Port Townsend.

My husband David gave me a nudge the other day.

Earlier in the spring we’d talked about scheduling a summer getaway. But what with one thing and another, no dates were set. We’re each in the midst of projects that will keep us close to home in the coming months. It was hard to wrap our minds around the idea of pulling away even for a weekend.

But David knows that unless we actually block off dates and make reservations, the next time we come up for air, the summer could be gone. Hence the nudge to get out my calendar and focus. [Read more…]