Friday, June 21, 2013

A prayer for The Farm

From Fairview, IA, USA
My folks have started the process of moving from city life to what had been my grandparents' farm, an idyllic 80-acre piece of land at the edge of the South Skunk River bottom near Reasnor, Iowa. It's been in the family for over a century. Having grown up in a small farm town about 15 miles from this place, and spending what seems to have been nearly every weekend of my childhood there, it's always been "The Farm" to me and my family. The century-old farm house has recently been knocked over, burned, and bulldozed - and construction on the new house is underway. Today we gathered at the farm to pray for the next chapter of its stewardship in my family's hands. Here's what we prayed...

My mom, Diane, and her dad, Dale Mullins
Gracious and loving God - You are the source of all that is great and good in this world. In you we live and move and have our being. And today we gather here as a family whose forebears have known and loved and worked this small piece of your good earth for over a century: Sheelers, Mullins, Nolins, Gumms.

And God, our family's stewardship here registers as a mere fraction of a fraction of an instant in your grand story of creation, fall, and long-yearning redemption.  So our first task here today, in seeking your guidance and provision for this - a new chapter of our family's story in this place, this farm - is one of humility.

So out of that place of humility we lift up to you a deep gratitude for the blessing, the privilege that this place has been to our family across the generations. It could have been otherwise, we could have been elsewhere - yet here we are. And we continue to receive it as the gift it has been. Thank you.

As houses are built and eventually fall, as generation gives way to generation, we mark this moment as one of passing, but with that passing - like the coming of spring after a long, cold Iowa winter - the promise of new life comes upon us. Now Lord, fill us with your Spirit for the help we need in faithfully stewarding this gift in the coming years.

Standing at the outset of this new chapter, the familiar has been made strange. God, orient my parents - Doug & Diane - as they go about the work of making the strange familiar again. Give them patience and wisdom for their work. Give them gracious hearts to love their neighbors and those in need in this nearby. Help them remember and practice Sabbath - for themselves and the land - in the face of seemingly endless to-do lists. Be with Grandma Dorothy in her elder years, after a long and fruitful life here with Dale. Give our generation and those to come the grace to walk alongside and the vision to be ready for yet more chapters down the road.

May our hands be dirty in the good earth and our hearts be made glad by the fellowship of family and your loving kindness. Father we end this prayer together with the words that our humble king Jesus taught us:

Our father in heaven
Holy is your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
Leads us not into temptation
Deliver us from evil
For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever

My daughter Lauren and her great-grandmother, Dorothy Mullins

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