Monday, September 15, 2014

Seasons of Creation: A Prayer for wilderness Sunday....a Jounrey from our city home to the wilds and back with Christ.

September in many churches is a time to celebrate the season of creation (It's spring down here in the southern hemisphere). This week it's wilderness Sunday... And as I've looked through a lot of the liturgy for that I've discovered that  it does not reflect the uniqueness of New Zealand.  We don't really use the word wilderness to talk about the wild places in this country, we might use words like remote, isolated, rugged and unspoilt but not wilderness. We might refer to the bush and mountains, high country and forest, but wilderness does tend in mine mind at least to have some very north American connotations. Much of the stuff for this Sunday from the Uniting Church of Australia is unique to Australia as they call this Sunday Outback Sunday and I guess that is the defining feature of that vast country.

We do live in a country that is full of wild places, even living in its largest city its only an hours drive away from bush clad hills of the Waitakere's and the amazing rugged west coast beaches. You can jump on a boat and sail out into the Hauraki gulf. Then further afield we have such amazingly diverse wild country: Milford sound and the rest of Fiordland, and the Southern Alpes, and its rivers and lakes, beech forest that goes right down to the coast. in the South Island.

One day on a trip round the south Island we camped by a track down to one of the mirror lakes and ran down to get a perfect reflection of the southern Alps just before the sun rose, we climbed up to a glacier in the morning, tramped up through rain forest to a trig station where we could see beaches and lagoons where the white heron nests in New Zealand, and those southern mountains, then in the early evening went down to a seal colony on the shore line, as it was high summer (I seem to remember) and not dark till late we decided to drive on over the Alps  via the Haast pass and into the brown hills of Central Otago.

Then there is the north Island, with its rolling farm country, tracts of preserved native forest and bush, the volcanic plateau, east cape and countless miles of coast line. My words could never do it justice.

Anyway here is my prayer for wilderness sunday... A journey from our city home to the wilds of New Zealand and back again....I know sounds a bit ' a journey there and back again' middle earthy... As always please feel free to use it or any part you find helpful. Please feel to make comment or suggestion as to how it could be made better and hopefully you can use to it express your praise to God for creation and for his presence with us.

We gather today to give you praise

Not as your people of old from desert path and farmers field

But from asphalt suburban street

From the sprawl of our hustling bustling city home

We come and raise our voices to give you thanks O Lord


In the rush we stop and set aside this time

We lay aside the incessant beep of electronic devise

We rest from the tightly packed demand of everyday

We still ourselves, take breath and focus afresh on you

Meet with us today and revive us we pray


We give you praise for our open spaces

Park lands and playing fields

Walkways and garden retreats

Beaches, estuary and sheltered harbour

Thank you God for space to play and to be


We give you thanks for the wild places close by

Where city gives way to Bush topped rangers

 For coastline where black sand meets pounding surf

Where Sparkling Hauraki Gulf holds off shore Island reserves

For this rugged beauty that surrounds us we give you praise


We give you thanks for the unique wilds of our island home

Down from high mountain top through beech forest to ice carved fiord

The Bare rock and tussock grass of high country and volcanic plateau

Inland lake and Forest stillness and the vast stretches of coastal grandeur

So amazing are you works, O Lord

We thank you for the way this beauty is preserved

For unique landscape and habitat protected in national park

For native forest blocks voluntarily set aside in trust

Wonders hidden and safe because of remoteness and distance

Help us to ensure that it is treasured and passed on with care


Help us to balance land use and need with conservation and preservation

To still our harmful demand for more and more

To share with those in need and cut back on what we waste

 Help leaders entrusted with our future in their decision making

We pray you would aid us with care for one another and creation


 Help us to follow you more closely

That we might follow Jesus to solitary places to meet with you

That we might follow our saviour to love and to serve

That we may follow the wind of you spirit where ever it blows  

Breathe new life in us by your word today


May we know your presence with us Lord,

Your grace and forgiveness as we seek you more,

New life and growth even in harsh times and places,

Your guidance in wilderness wanderings and as we walk our City Streets

May we live to bring glory to you O God:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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