“Let the Vineyards Be Fruitful”
Let the vineyards be fruitful Lord, and fill to the brim our cup of blessing. Gather a harvest from the seeds that were sown, that we may be fed with the bread of life. Gather the hopes and dreams of all; unite them with the prayers we offer. Grace our table with your presence, and give us foretaste of the feast to come.
Maybe you are like me and cannot read these words without singing them as well. When I was growing up in church, this was the offering response that we sang every week. The first notes rang out on the organ and we all stood to sing as the offering plates were brought up to the table. If you are familiar with this piece, you probably also have a preferred setting, as I do (setting 2 from the LBW). As we make our way towards a different kind of Thanksgiving I keep thinking about the line, “gather the hopes and dreams of all; unite them with the prayers we offer.”
Hopes and dreams. What are your hopes and dreams at this moment in time? So often our hopes and dreams are our prayers. What do you pray for?
A vaccine? An end to isolation? Healing? Peace? Hope? Maybe your hopes, dreams, and prayers revolve around a relationship, reconciliation, or grace for yourself or someone else. Maybe your hopes, dreams, and prayers are global in scope or maybe they are deeply personal. Whatever your hopes, dreams, and prayers are, I invite you to try this visualization practice today.
First, be clear about what your hopes, dreams and prayers are, not for all time, just for this moment in time.
Now, picture God (however you picture God) gathering up all those hopes, dreams, and prayers. Really take some time with this and flesh out the picture as much as you can. What does God look like? What do your hopes and dreams look like? Are they held in a pair of hands, in a basket, in a ray of light, in an embrace? This is completely up to you.
Now say in your mind, “In God’s care, those hopes and dreams are…”. How would you finish that sentence? Safe? Known? Taken care of? Appreciated? Held?
Sit with this for a few breaths, really breathing in the image of God, your hopes, and what it looks like that God has taken your hopes into God’s care.
Now notice how this makes you feel in your body. Do you feel calm? Warm? Peaceful?
With one more deep breath, let us pray:
Gracious God, we give you thanks for planting seeds of hope in us. Hold us and our dreams in love. Send your Spirit to guide us and encourage us to keep listening to your word among us in song, creation, and the faces and lives of those we meet. As we continue to strive to bring your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, give us a foretaste of the feast to come to sustain us. And as always, grace our table with your presence, for we need your love today and always. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
(If you are on FaceBook and would like to watch and listen to Pastor Ruth guide you through this visualization, you can go to her Front Porch Spiritual Direction page and find the video there)