Pastoral Prayer 4-24-16
We only really saw this earth that you have made fully illuminated by the sun and in a color photograph taken by an Apollo 17 astronaut on his way to the moon in 1972. That blue marble photograph turned out to be the most important thing these astronauts brought back from their journey to the moon. For the first time, we could indeed see and appreciate what you, our God, created. And here is what he (Eugene Cernan) said about what he saw from the window of his spacecraft:
You have to literally just pinch yourself and ask yourself the question, silently: Do you know where you are at this point in time and space, and in reality and in existence, when you can look out the window and you’re looking at the most beautiful star in the heavens — the most beautiful because it’s the one we understand and we know, it’s home, it’s people, family, love, life — and besides that it is beautiful. You can see from pole to pole and across oceans and continents and you can watch it turn and there’s no strings holding it up, and it’s moving in a blackness that is almost beyond conception.
Eugene Cernan did not mention God, but WE do:
Lord, we close our eyes and try to imagine it. We look at this marvelous globe and reflect upon your greatness. But it’s difficult. As the Psalmist sings: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it” (Ps. 139: 6). ”On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate” (Ps. 145: 5). It is too much, for we get so immersed in our day to day situations from dirty cars to dirty diapers and whether we have taken our pills or kept our appointments.
But just this past Friday, leaders from 175 countries signed the Paris agreement on climate control and a rapper’s video on protecting the earth went viral on the internet and will influence thousands of young people. His name is Prince Ea. And so we are filled with hope.
For the beauty of the earth, we thank you, Lord. Heal it, evolve it, transform it, teach us how to care for it, how to be a part of it, stewards of it. “We lift up our eyes to the hills…” (Ps. 121:1). And we lift up these prayers to you from this beautiful earth you not only created but visited in the person of your son, and through him we pray: “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer…”
Let us pray,
As our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate Passover this week, they taste the sweet and the sour, the bitter and the tasty in their Seder meals. They eat unleavened bread to remind themselves their ancestors had no time to allow bread to rise if they were to escape the slavery of Egypt. And so in these prayers, we offer the sweet and the painful and pray with our Jewish brethren for liberation from whatever holds us and our dear ones captive.