I want to write a prayer of gratitude on the occasion of my 80th Birthday. I’ve written previously about prayer, but not previously written an actual prayer. I hope that my prayer might encourage others to pray. And I want to thank e. e. cummings for my stolen title.
I pray in gratitude to YOU WHO ARE THE GREAT MYSTERY grounding and surrounding my life.
I thank YOU, GREAT SPIRIT, for the love and joy given to me through my family, for the faith they have given and sustained in me.
I thank you for the many friends who’ve walked with me at different times – friends and sweethearts in different schools, so many students over the years, and so many colleagues. (I pause to let their faces stream before me.)
I thank YOU, FATHER CREATOR, for the worlds you have made, for the amazing evolution of those worlds, and their developing goodness and truth and beauty. And I give thanks that YOU forgive even as you correct us for all we’ve messed up, and for the promise that YOUR new creation or kingdom is already here in Denver and in the many places I’ve been privileged to live or visit. (Here too I pause to allow a stream of memories from those places.)
I thank YOU, HOLY TRINITY, for having made us in your marvelously crazy image and thus given us the marvelously crazy goodness of our humanity. I give thanks for my mind and spirit, for the goodness of my body and for the ways it enables me to live in relationship to the world. And I give thanks for my freedom and for Your Spirit’s helping me grow gradually into the person I’ve become, sins and all.
I thank you, JESUS, my brother and boss, my teacher or lord. I thank you for being a Mensch and living the goodness of human things — from good food and good wine to the gift of language which you spoke so remarkably; from celebration and sorrow to ghe gift of touch in love and friendship. And for initiating while you lived with us your Father’s new creation. And above all being with me and others as we try to live into that creation.
Finally, I even want to thank YOU, GREAT MOTHER, for the losses I’ve experienced, even for the death of my son. And for the diminishments of recent years, the gradual loss of hearing and strength and memory. For I’ve learned over the years that such sufferings are invitations leading me deeper into YOUR INFINITE LIGHT.
This all this I pray, Amen.