A harvest thanksgiving service, a day before ANZAC Day, and thinking about the arrival of the first Syrian refugees to Dunedin, I wrote these prayers:
Hello god, here is our prayers. Listen to us I pray. Bend down from heaven and bend your ear.
Hear us when we pray to you. Are you ready for us? We are coming to you.
You see before us the harvest offering, tokens of your generosity towards us.
After ten thousand years of civilised history and architecture we are still dependent on the layers of soil beneath our feet, and the promise of rain from the vaults of heaven.
Provide us for our daily needs, for what we produce and what grow, and what we need, from earth and sky and encircling ocean.
For all our pride in being educated first world citizens we still live from day to day.
Our nations, our cities, our communities, even our families – all may be lost and swept aside if the meals stop coming, and we are left as broken stones and foundations in the waste land.
Lord, you know our needs. You know them before they come to mind.
When we call on you we know you will meet us halfway because you know and you are coming to get us.
We do not walk home alone for you are with us and you guide us – share our playlunch with us, we will sit and eat sandwiches together.
In making this gesture of our gifts returned to you we are reminded that renew our citizenship in your kingdom.
We are the wandering people, from the first garden to the promise of the new Jerusalem.
We are highly mobile. We settle for a generation and then we move on.
We have the vision of the city, a city which has the God which gives righteousness and peace at its heart.
We would wish our city to be the welcoming place, to settlers, refugees, visitors and tourists.
Lord, save our land from the violence, from the bombs and missiles that have fallen on others.
Instead let the rain, the wind, the snow, and brief intervals of sun fall on us.
If ours is a safe city, then let us share it with others, let us be hospitible, let us be diverse.
Lord, within these hills, you have set us on a broad place, may it be home to all your people.
We live in our islands on the edge of the world, and the world seems full of danger, keep that danger far from our shores, Lord God, protect our islands, and nurture all who live here.
We remember those who have died to keep our islands at peace in past wars.
If we go from these islands again, then let our men and women go as peace keepers, and not as soldiers and warriors, when they go on that great adventure.
We remember those in our families who have gone, now and in previous generations.
We honour their sacrifice.
Lord, you are the Lord of the Harvest, even if it is the harvest of lost souls.
We do not get out of life alive, and our hope is our children, our grand-children, and our new-born will be our inheritors in a civilisation of peace.
May we be witnesses to your kingdom at this time, and in our life-time, and share our vision for our community with others who walk with us.
Give us good leadership – in our elected leaders in local government and in parliament.
We pray for our moderator, the Right Rev. Andrew Norton, that he would be a man who speaks for your Church.
Make us a generous people, abundant in our celebration, catering for friend and critic alike.
May we see Christ in the eye of the person opposite to us, teach us to see the stranger.
…we say together