Monday, October 4, 2010

Hill top prayer

I spent two summers in the little south Otago town of Clinton (it's not a one horse town, it actually has  statues of three Clydesdale horses in the main road). And one of the lingering memories of that time was being invited to a sheep station that had a 4,000 meter hill as part of it. When we drove up to the summit the view was amazing. Row after row of the Catlin's heading down to the Pacific ocean one way, and off in the distance in the other way over the blue mountains and central Otago were the remarkables (one of the mountain ranges besides lake wanaka and Queenstown). It inspired me to write a prayer of thanksgiving and confession for the following Sunday, one that I have used several places since then. A prayer that while a bit wordy and flowery I think captures that hill top experience. I offer it as a

Lord God we are so surrounded by the wonders of your awesomeness and love. We don’t worship creation but it is wonderful and constantly reminds us of its creator our great God.
Standing on the hilltops we are humbled by the beauty of this land we live in.

The greens and browns of the hills that go on and on disappearing into the distant heat haze.

Vistas and views that sing of your great creative power

And a glimpse of your eternal nature,

They remind us of the profound truth that just as the hills surround

Jerusalem and these hills surround us so you enfold your people in your mighty love.
We praise you for the wonder of the wind in this place,

The embraces of a gentle breeze remind us of your presence,

The still day reminds us of your peace,

The storm and winter wind that blows right through us

reminds us of the wind of your spirit disturbing us from our complacency and calling us onwards to new places new people to love and adventures with you.

You are not a tame God but the spirit blows where it will

As JK Baxter says ‘both inside and outside the fences’
We thank you for the profound truth that you who created it all became one of us. You lived in the valleys and laboured up the hills of Judea,

Meet with loved, taught and called people of the land and towns to follow you.

WE praise you Lord Jesus Christ that you know what our lives are like and that you gave your life to pay the price for all that we have done wrong. Lord God in this great gift of compassion we have found forgiveness and new life.
Thank you for the life that comes from you.
Holy Spirit you re the real presence of our real God in the up hill slogs the exhilarating summit experiences, the dark valley trails of our lives.

You have given us the comfort and companionship of our family both physical and the brothers and sisters fathers and mothers you have given us in our adopted heavenly family.

You teach of God’s love and open our minds and hearts to what our saviour calls us to

You convict of our sin and you lead us from them into new life

We do pray that you, O God, would forgive us for what we have done wrong and the good we have left undone.

For the times we have been unloving to each other and forgotten to show the grace that we have received from you. When our hands and our words have caused hurt. When we have allowed injustice to grow like weeds by our silence.
Thank you that as we have confessed our sins you have been just and faithful and forgiven us and cleansed us from all unrighteousness.

You work in the midst of our everydayness to produce your fruit

You equip us and provide gifts that enable us to point people to the wonderful wellspring of life we have found in Christ.

From the hilltop from the up and down slopes and from the valley floors Oh lord we join your creation to praise you: Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

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