This Eventide

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At sunset, when the light fades red
And crimson blushes ‘cross the sky
I linger ‘tween the mossy trees
As loons call out their lullabies

Echoes haunting through the fog
O’er gleaming, golden, silent glass
Crackling leaves and snapping twig
As mother deer and fawn creep past

Tangerine and turquoise fade
To gath’ring mist and glitt’ring coal
Diamond prisms scattered lending
Wonder to my pensive soul

Twinkling laughter breaks the night
As paddle stroke arcs silver spray
Silent ripples warp the glass
Wood–hewn canoe glides o’er the bay

Roughened rock my makeshift bed
I gaze up to that endless sea
Where moonlight guides the ships of dreams
The universe sings back to me

Croaking frogs and cricket’s trill
Join whippoorwill and flautist thrush
In nature’s reverent vesper hymns
Hooting, rustling, sighing, hush

Snapping spark of piney fire
Orange stars rising in the night
Dancing flame and glowing heat
Embers dying, fading light

The silence of this peaceful hour
Pierced only by hushed evening sounds
Breathes forth a prayer of love content
This eventide where joy abounds.

A Prayer for Community

God, we pray for a hurting world; a hurting people.

We are so diverse
With many different identities and attractions
All created and loved by You.

We pray first for ourselves:
When misinformed prejudice
Threatens to destroy our love for ourselves
And blinds us to Your love,
When our shame and doubt overpower us,
When we are injured by the judgement of others
Or of ourselves,
Help us feel Your comfort, peace, and joy.
Help us love ourselves as You do, without judgement.
Help us find community
Where we can be supported and offer support to others.

(Silence)

We pray for the LGBTQ+ community:
When we experience condemnation
Or feel like our identities and gifts are not valued,
Strengthen us to stand secure in who we are.
Give us opportunities to serve and lead.
Guide us as we support each other.
Let our voices be heard,
So that one day there will be no need
For separate communities
Because all are welcome in the body of Christ.

(Silence)

We pray for the church:
We confess we have used Your name in the name of hatred.
We have not always shown love,
Or have failed to reach the needs of a hurting people.
Work in and through Your church to bring us to a place
Of love and understanding with our friends in Christ,
Remembering that we may not all agree,
But that we can all reflect your uninhibited love.

(Silence)

As we learn and grow in community
And as individuals,
Fill us with Your Spirit,
Leave us open to Your guidance,
And embrace us with Your grace
As we live love to those in pain
So that all may be renewed and find healing in Your Love.

I am a queer Christian who is still struggling with internalized shame to come to a point where I can love myself. My prayer focuses on love, and the importance of community to support LGBTQ+ persons in their journeys. I wanted to have space to pray for ourselves as individuals, because the journey of self-acceptance is often difficult for LGBTQ+ folks, and people who are not LGBTQ+ usually have their own things they struggle to accept about themselves. A supportive community is so important in this process, and while it is fantastic to have groups where we can be surrounded by others who understand, I long for a day when society reaches a point where all types of relationships (and singleness!) are celebrated, so that no one feels “abnormal” or is ostracised. This prayer could be used in a group where LGBTQ+ and allies are present, perhaps in a service of healing and reconciliation. It expresses longing, confession, and hope for a present and future with more love.