A Liturgy for Gardening

A prayer for gardeners.

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY TIM FOLEY

“Wendell Berry once wrote, ‘There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.’”

So begins the forward to Every Moment Holy, a 2019 collection of contemporary liturgical Christian prayers. In the book, Douglas McKelvey finds spiritual meaning in everything from morning coffee (“Meet me, O Christ,/in this stillness of morning./Move me, O Spirit,/to quiet my heart./Mend me, O Father,/from yesterday’s harms.”) to changing diapers (“Ah Lord, what a mess we sometimes make of our lives!”).

Every Moment Holy is a moving, inspiring, poetic prod to continu-ally remind ourselves what is important in life—and what is not. While written from a Christian perspective, much of its well-crafted wisdom should be relevant to all who want to further their spiritual path.

Here, for us gardeners, is the book’s “Liturgy for Gardening:”
 
LEADER: O Creator who calls forth life,
May this ground, and our labors
here invested, yield good provision for
the nourishing of both body and soul.
 
PEOPLE: Lord, let our labors in this garden be fruitful.
Lord, let our labors in this garden be blessed.

 
As we work the soil of this garden plot—furrowing, planting,
watering, and harvesting—may such acts become to us
a living parable, a prayer acted out rather than spoken.
 
Lord, let our labors in this garden be fruitful.
Lord, let our labors in this garden be blessed.

 
As we co-labor with you and with your creation
to produce a beneficial harvest, may we
find in such toil a kind of rest. May this plot
of ground become a hallowed space and
these hours a sacred time for reflection, for
conversation with friends and family, and for
fellowship with you, our Creator.
 
Lord, let our labors in this garden be fruitful.
Lord, let our labors in this garden be blessed.


Through our tending of these your delightful creations—
vegetables and fruits, beans and berries, vines and stalks and
roots and flowers—renew our own tired hopes,
redeem our own wearied imaginations.
As we cultivate gentle order,
training,
pruning,
weeding,
and protecting,
so cultivate and train our wayward hearts,
O Lord, that rooted in you the forms of
our lives might spread in winsome witness,
maturing to bear the good fruit of grace, expressed
in acts of compassionate love.
 
Lord, let our labors in this garden be fruitful.
Lord, let our labors in this garden be blessed.

 
Walk with us now, O Lord,
in the stillness of this tilled and quiet space,
that when we venture again into the still
greater garden of your world, we might be
prepared by the long practice of your presence,
to offer our lives as a true and nourishing
provision to all who hunger for
mercy
and hope
and meaning,
a true and nourishing provision
to all who hunger for you.
 
Lord, let our labors in this garden be fruitful.
Lord, let our labors in this garden be blessed.

 
Amen.
 
From Every Moment Holy, Volume 1 by Douglas Kaine McKelvey (Rabbit Room Press 2017) Used with permission.


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