In this wintertime of violence and hatred
In this wintertime of bloody execution
In this wintertime of meanness and closedness
In this wintertime of ignorance and fear
We pray for a springtime flowering of tenderness and compassion
We pray for a summertime of leafy generosity and love
We pray for an autumn of crisp sweet fruit – the taste of justice, welcome and peace.
We ask you to awaken the apple trees to your call, o Creator of the seasons; bless them and dress them with nourishing fruit!
As part of my pilgrim role I facilitate the church’s partnership with the environmental group, Transition Portishead. In North Somerset apples and the apple harvest are a big deal, and in the autumn there are apple-pressing events in various parts of the town. Early in the year Transition members traditionally organise a Wassail, to wake the trees after the winter, and prime them for a good year of produce. Recently I’ve been invited to take part and bless the trees.
Here’s the blessing we used this evening:
God of the universe,
Source of all life,
We come on behalf of all living things
in the darkness of winter
to ask for the blessing of new life.
God of life and love,
Goodness and grace,
Bless this tree and all the trees…
Fill their leaves with worship
And their branches with the dance of praise.
May they express your beauty in their blossom
And your faithfulness in abundant fruit.
Awaken us with the trees to hear your voice
And be obedient to your call.
As we taste the juice of the harvest,
may we know your fruitfulness in the whole of our lives.
In the name of Jesus Christ the Apple Tree.
My godson has recently negotiated the maelstrom that is the first few days at university. I wish I had written this earlier, but I’m grateful to him that he’s inspired me to write something that I (and if you want, you too) can dedicate to freshers of future years.
Blessing (after John O’Donohue)
May you land gently in your new world.
May your living space fold around you like a cloak.
May your things find their space and settle into invisibility.
May you find friends who will brave your fragility, hold your insecurity, cherish your uniquity.
May you spend a lifetime’s laughter in a night, and do the same tomorrow; may you find layers of self surfacing from the inner unknown; may you dance and dream and create and love – yet not come home drunk in the morning.
May your studies reward you with new insight and skills and re-weave the network of your mind; may you give expression to originality and beauty; may you find fulfilment in creating newness, as your Father does.
May your life uncurl and extend and reach for the future. May love capture you and bring you home. May you be Blessed, now and always.