Free-write Prayers from Ecospirituality Class

by the CHI Student Community

April 2008

Photo by Sally Woods

The following prayers were written as part of a class activity at the Earth-Based Spirituality module. Students were asked to write an on-the-spot prayer to be offered at the memorial of “a friend’s father.” All they knew about him was that he had self-identified as non-religious, yet had felt a profound connection to the natural world throughout his life. Four student poem-prayer offerings follow. The authors of all four prayers were ordained in March 2008.

The Assignment: “Craft a prayer that respects the spiritual framework of the person being honored, while also bringing spiritual comfort to those who have gathered to remember him.”

It is in the events of one’s life
that we measure ourselves and one another as humans.
We draw on each other for strength.
We sit with one another in joy and sorrow.
We learn from one another as our curiosities draw us to explore
all that is available to us as we journey on the earth.

The mountains represent the highest points
that we can physically climb to.
How fitting to have known such a man
who took great comfort in sitting on a mountaintop
to rejuvenate his essence.

As we come together to honor all that he was,
we can always reconnect to him through our memories,
and for his love of the earth—
particularly the mountains that gave light to his life.

—Rev. Kathy Westley

As rain falls on the forest ground,
As rivers run ’til the sea is found,
As grasses grow and birds abound,
Our father has departed this earthly round.

Give thanks for the life he lived so full.
Give thanks for his love and care.
Give thanks for the time he gave us, too,
And the beauty of the world he shared.

Farewell our friend, we loved you so.
Into the mist and mystery you go.
And we will wait as all renews,
And see you again in the morning dew.

—Rev. John C. Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min.

We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of (Name), a wonderful man who touched so many lives as he embraced his own life to the fullest.

He was a humble servant and devout father, husband and friend.

(Name) was also a man of the great outdoors. His spirit was fed when he walked in Mother Nature, listened to Mother Nature, and watched Mother Nature. He knew that it was Spirit who spoke to him in the language of the land and in the language of the animals.

During his life he came to experience the divinity and sacredness in all—man and creature alike. Whether he was on top of a mountain or in a valley sitting next to a river, all of creation comforted and sustained him.

May (Name) find peace and rest
within the arms of Mother Nature.

May his soul find peace and rest
within the infinite arms of the Universe.

May his divine spark be
the North Star in the evening sky,
guiding us from now on forward.

May we find peace and rest,
knowing that one man’s life fully lived
has made a difference to so many.

And may the light of eternity
shine upon you all
and give you peace.


—Rev. Sabine Schmid

I climbed a mountain,
many, in fact
and kissed the sun.

Earth, she supported my trek
and cradled each step.

Tree protected me
from elements of rain or snow
on my way.

The winged hawk
sounded a call.

Bear made his presence known to me
and he said…danger ahead!

The mountain streams
wound their way to Source.

The Ocean refreshed
and satisfied my deep thirst.

I climbed a mountain,
many, in fact,
and kissed the moon.

Before I bedded down for the night,
Owl watched over me
as I fell, slumbering,
into the dream state
where all were gathered—
you, my extended family and friends,
those who have gone before me,
and my animal friends.

And in this dream,
atop the mountain…
I kissed Life good-night.

—Rev. Mary Tarbell-Green