God who loves and made all seasons,
Thank you for the gift of summer. It’s one of your especially gracious ones. We thank you for refreshing changes in our day-to-day lives – for tracked in sand on the kitchen floor at the lake house; for the smell of fresh strawberries we’ve dumped out on the counter to wash and sift; for the elated shrieks of children down the street as they scamper through sprinklers…
We thank you for the sweetness of long-awaited reunions with family that live far away; for opportunities to “get away” in body and soul, whether it’s across the world or across the street to our friend’s porch; for the way our children soak in the glory of green grass; for all the ways we simply feel more alive….we thank you.
So on days when our spirits are searching, when our hearts are longing, when the sky looks drab and our inner selves reflect the same, help us, God, to remember…to remember the sand and the strawberries and the sprinklers…that good, strong hug we got from a child and the refreshing jug of ice tea we drank to the bottom with our neighbor…may we remember those “alive” moments and let them lift our spirit to fresh gratitude.
May we remember how we experienced you in these moments.
For all the changes of summer we celebrate, God, we cannot forget our loved ones who struggle against sameness – unchanged health problems, strained relationships, an exhausting work schedule. We pray, loving God, for your refreshment to tired bodies and hearts.
We hold up to you, God, our nation that fights with sameness – cycles of violence and racism and poverty. There are so many reasons we are grateful to live in the United States, God, and so many people to whom we’re grateful for the gifts of life here. But our gratitude mixes with angst. With pain. With so many questions. We are not free. We are not free because not all of us are free…Keep us from living protected, isolated lives and lead us into the messy where we truly hold the ache and joy of one another with the rawness of our hearts.
Thank you, God, for cupping us and our lives in these summer days. We place our hope in you, Jesus, as we pray. Amen.