In a few weeks, we will begin our fall offerings of Christian Education with prayer! Prayer is a good way to begin anything, of course, but specifically, we will have a three-week series, starting September 24, on different styles of prayer: Celtic, Benedictine, and Ignatian. Each style has its delights, but I’m glad we are starting with Celtic, because it is the style that is the most grounded in the wonders and beauty of Creation. That emphasis seems particularly felicitous at this gorgeous time of year, when the spaciousness of summer is transitioning to the grandeur of fall.
It is a time of endings (of the summer season, of vacation-mode, of leaves already beginning to show signs of turning vibrant color before falling to the ground) but also a time of beginnings (of the Autumn season, of new projects at work and home, of the bountiful time of the fall harvest). What I seem to be most aware of today is the golden quality of the sunlight at this time of year – warming the days after cool nights, softly filtering through the canopy of the trees, helping to ripen the fall fruits. The late summer/early fall sun reminds me of this prayer from one of my favorite prayer books, The Celtic Wheel of the Year, by Tess Ward:
more beauteous and eternal than the late summer sun,
brightening the berries cased in nature’s plastic; hardening the shell of nut.
may your Spirit grow me from seed within and protect me without
that I might bear kind fruit in all weathers this day.
Be the kernel of love at the centre of my life.
Be the kernel as I go about my busyness this day.
Be the kernel as my feet go from place to place.
Be the kernel as I keep my hands open to what might be.
Be the kernel as I welcome another and listen to their story.
Be the kernel that prompts words of gentleness.
Be the kernel deep within when my troubles overwhelm.
Be the kernel softening my boundary when fear has made it impermeable.
May I know your presence at heart so I may have an earthed generosity
until the saffron rays have gone down on the world this evening,
as I make my way this day.
Blessings upon your fall!