Wild, Incarnate Christ,
Light of Life -
the sun has reached its zenith
and we can feel the heat in our bodies.
As we stand on the cusp
of this sweltering season
we give thanks and praise for
the gifts of summer -
vibrancy and radiance,
fruitfulness and playfulness,
embodiment and freedom.
Open us to the ways you are
manifest in creation,
Your presence alive and tangible
so that we may know you
to be here among us
not only through head and heart,
but also through our bodies.
Like plants stretching toward the sun,
may we reach for you,
as the Source of all being.
Enliven us and inspire us
as children of the light
to grow in maturity,
passion, and fullness.
- Wendy Janzen
Less than perfect.
These pandemic days,
have left me feeling off.
Floundering at times
But when I go out
and walk, or
poke around in the garden, or
sit for a bit
and just be
in the presence
I breathe deeply
and let the worries
I catch glimpses
of the freedom
they have to be
less than perfect
and still beautifully,
to the world
as gift freely given
That is enough.
- Wendy Janzen
Self-Guided Summer Solstice Prayer Walk
Find a place to walk in nature, preferably in the evening when you can enjoy the long evening on this longest day of the year. Read through the full document before you go, so you have an idea of the flow. (You may want to bring a water bottle with you.)
Begin by grounding yourself: take a few deep breaths, release any tension, shake out your body, draw yourself into awareness of your surroundings; feel the earth beneath your feet, and the Divine Presence all around and within you.
Before you start to walk, read this opening invitation.
Listen to Earth leaning closer to the sun.
to the heat breathing through gardens,
Calling plants to fruition,
Whispering fulfillment to the flowers.
Listen to the growing circle of life.
Listen to the green sanctuary of the trees,
To young birds testing out their wings.
To bare feet and laughter,
To Mother Earth bringing food to the table,
Listen to songs of leisure and renewal.
Listen to the summer of your soul,
To the dance of life within you,
To creativity that yearns for expression,
To the fire that burns in your spirit.
Listen to the passion of summer.
Listen to the poetry of summer,
to the wisdom of the earth,
to the presence of God
As you walk and pray.
(adapted from a blessing by Macrina Wiederkehr)
Head out on your walk, prayerfully sauntering at a relaxed pace, aware of what you see, hear, smell, and feel. If you come upon a place that expresses brokenness in any way, stop for a prayer of confession. Pray your own confession, or use the prayer provided.
Prayer of Confession
Source of all Being, we give you thanks for our watershed, for the Grand River (or Nith River, or whichever watershed you are in), and for all of life that calls this place home--
We think of Heron and Cardinal, Beaver and Raccoon, Smallmouth Bass and Pike, Bullfrog and Turtle. We are grateful for diversity and abundance, and pray that we might be good neighbours among our community of creation.
God, we confess that we take our natural surroundings for granted, and that for too long we have been neglectful in our disregard for our ecosystem, not thinking about the costs and consequences of our actions. Move us beyond complacency to a place of compassion and action for our environment and all who live in our watershed. Amen.
As you continue our walk, hold in prayer whatever concerns you are carrying with you, be they personal or environmental; prayers for people or for species, or for the earth itself.
If you are walking by a body of water, take a moment when you are ready to participate in a symbolic action. If you are not near water, simply choose a place to pour some water from your water bottle onto a plant or the roots of a tree.
At the water’s edge, kneel by the water, cup some water, and pour it back into the river/lake/pond, offering your prayers of concern into the body of water, knowing that God holds our prayers, and holds us, and that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Continue your walk with a sense of gratitude, and when you finish your walk, offer this closing blessing.
Blessed are you, Creator of all,
Blessed are you summer,
season of long days,
bare feet, beauty, and fruitfulness.
Blessed are you, people who walk in the light,
Blessed are you, Earth who sustains us,
Blessed are you, God of the seasons.
- Wendy Janzen
A prayer for the summer solstice ~
Great Spirit of the sun,
On this dawning of a new day
we turn our faces toward your radiance,
looking for your grace to shine upon us.
Creator of Light,
may your fire burn within us,
extending warmth to all
with whom we connect this day.
On this longest day of the year
we celebrate life, abundance,
fertility, growth, fruitfulness, ripening,
colour, strength, vitality, and richness.
We also celebrate this day with the
indigenous peoples who have called
this place home long before settlers arrived.
We pray that we might be good neighbours,
good listeners, and good allies as we
pray together for reconciliation,
for justice, and for the earth
we all call home.
Let us rejoice in this longest day of light!
- Wendy Janzen
Reflections, poetry, prayers, and resources written by Wendy Janzen and occasional guests.