a prayer to begin

the tree with the lights in it

I took this photo back in April, when I would sit at the desk in our guest bedroom and read in the mornings. I watched the tree change from day to day, first completely bare and then with little gold scrolls at the end of each branch. As those scrolls began to unfurl to green leaves, the morning sun caught them and turned the whole tree into Annie Dillard’s tree with the lights in it. The leaves became lanterns suspended from the branches, like the tree wanted to throw a good-morning-Sun! party.

Now the leaves are leathery and dark, and the tree is a great big tent. When I sit at the desk, it feels a little like a treehouse. And it propels me to pray:

This is the day that the Lord has made!
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Lord of translucent leaves, glimmering with sunlight,
Lord of domes of shade under spacious branches,
Lord of living soil that feeds roots,
Lord of the star we call our sun,
Lord of every last raindrop,

make each of us a tree,
planted by your streams of hope.

Root us down, down, down,
deeper into your depths than we can imagine.

We’re going to need that stability today and tomorrow
and the rest of this year,
whether we’re feeling joyful or fearful,
excited or anxious,
calm or irritable,
loved or alone.

Bring on the storms of emotion!
Bring on the whirlwind of deadlines!
Bring on the tempests of friendship, relationship, kinship!

Because we’re rooted deep.

Our trunks are strong and supple,
our leaves are broad and sun-green.
We belong to you, Jesus Christ.
We are watered by your Holy Spirit,
nourished by your Word.

Make that true for each of us this year, Lord.
Be faithful to us.
Tend us, water us, prune us,
so that we will yield abundant fruit.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,


4 thoughts on “a prayer to begin

  1. Just this week I “re-memorized” (oooh — an oxymoron maybe!) Ps 1.1-3, and so feel especially connected with your tree analogy as I commit to MORE memorization and meditating on the law of the Lord “day and night.” I love that bedroom and window and tree. And although I am not a student, I pray for this stability and depth in Christ right along with all of you.

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