Spring is definitely here in Northern California. In my yard, the wisteria is swaying in the breeze, my lilacs are scenting the air, the California poppies are bobbing their orange heads and the yellow rose bush is just about ready to give me a couple of vasefuls of buds. For the first time since Bella died I am feeling the joy in life again.
To honor the return of this blessing to me, I want to use Holy Week for prayers of thanksgiving. The things I am grateful for are things I think we can all be grateful for – the fact that the sun is warm, that flowers are here or are coming, that we are here to experience these simple gifts.
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.
“The valley of love and delight.” What a beautiful place that sounds like. If the last month of depression and grief and sadness has taught me anything it is that it is up to me to create my own valley of love and delight – if I choose to do so. Today, I say I choose to do so.
So here are my prayers of thanksgiving for the valley of love and delight I choose to see around me. I am saying them on the Pearls of Life, also called the Wreath of Christ. If you have my book, I write about this form of Lutheran prayer beads on pages 39-41. I have blogged about my own set here, with pictures and instructions for making one. As they have no set prayers, you are free to write or compile your own. Mine are below, inspired by this week of renewal. Feel free to use them, change them to suit your own faith or needs.
On the God Pearl
Thanks be to you, O God, for all the blessings you have given me.
On the (first) Pearl of Silence
For the gift of the earth and all it contains, I thank you.
On the Baptism Pearl
I shall love the Lord with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my strength and with all my mind.
— adapted from Luke 10:27
On the (second) Pearl of Silence
For the gift of my family and all the love they provide, I thank you.
On the Night Pearl
Holy spirit, expressing the world,
Help me to awake this day and realize
That God is in this place. —adapted from Genesis 28:16
On the Mystery Pearls (three)
1 – God with me lying down
2 – God with me rising up
3 – God with me in each ray of light —from the Carmina Gadelica
On the Love Pearls (two)
1 – I bless you Lord, for the beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass
2 – I bless you Lord, for the taste of good food, the trail of the sun, and the life that never goes away.
— Chief Dan George
On the (third) Pearl of Silence
For the blessing of my friends and all the support they offer me, I thank you
On the Serenity Pearl
For this is to live the life eternal: To experience our indivisible relationship with God
On the (fourth) Pearl of Silence
For the gift of my abilities and all the comfort they bring me, I thank you
On the Desert Pearl
The wind is your messenger, the clouds are your chariots.
All creatures exist in you. What endless variety you are. — Psalm 104
On the (fifth) Pearl of Silence
For the love of my pets and animal friends and all the solace they bring me, I thank you.
On the Resurrection Pearl
Praise the everlasting and the holy.
Take joy in the miracle of creation,
For we live in the mystery of the unbounded.
In this marvelous world, we are alive. —- Psalm 135
On the I Pearl
Blessed are those who are aware that they dwell in you,
For they fill their days with peace. —-Psalm 84
On the (sixth) Pearl of Silence
For all the glory of your creation and all the beauty it brings me, I thank you.
On the return to the God Pearl
Thanks be to you, O God, for giving me the gift of life and all its bounties.