Faith Matters: Prayers at the beginning of summer

By ALLEN M. COMSTOCK

For the Recorder

Published: 06-02-2023 2:48 PM

Lilacs guard the doorway to summer.

Only we and the ash trees are reluctant to pass through,
lingering so as not to lose the light sweetness and lacework promising of springtime
when anything might be or be made new.
Everything else rushes in and on to definition and fruition.

We and the ash trees hang back.
For the passage from the hinting of leaves to leaves,
from the airy teasing of blossoming to the heavy finality of fruit,
from the promising to the being and the doing,
from word to flesh
dares dying.

We and the ash trees hang back and linger in our blossoming
until our promising passes on into mere memories of promises;
what-might-be becomes wistful what-might-have-been,
without passing through the heavy, final, fruitful, birthing, being, doing, and dying.

But you do lure out fruit from us and a daring of dying,
and we are afraid.

Yet, you yourself have borne the fruit and dared the dying
so that we might bear and dare and not be so afraid,
...and we are ashamed, and give you thanks,
and we and the ash trees step fearfully through the lilac door.

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Your seasons cycle toward their fullness.

Your grace surrounds us, undergirds us,
sings your presence in bird songs,
grins grand green smiles at us, laughs riotous reds
and yellows and blues at us,
fills us up.

We are nearly overwhelmed, but not quite.
Because there is that in us also that Summer can’t touch,
that accumulates seasons and swallows up Summers,
adding each to each like weights on a scale,
and subtracting each one from all the rest
in an always declining grand total.

It is this in us that ages and dies
and fears each succeeding summertime
that we offer up to you for saving.

For in you nothing can be lost,
and in you each summer gathers all the Summers
that ever were.
In your hands all the Summer-times are held as present
and not past.

And each life gathers all the lives that have come before,
and all are held in Your hands as present and not past.

Gather, we pray, everything in us that ages and dies
and fears the Summer-time,
and transform it all into love for the living
and for the singing of praise
for the fullness and the fatness and the lushness
of your Summer-time presence among us.

Allen M. Comstock has been a pastor in this area since 1970. He has served as settled pastor in Heath, Rowe, Stockbridge, Boston, Charlemont, and Jeffersonville, Vermont. He served as interim pastor in South Hadley, North A,dams, Montague Center, and Hartland, Vermont.

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