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Von Ogden Vogt: Prayers

A PRAYER OF AFFIRMATION

Before You, O God, we freely affirm our faith:
We believe in the goodness of life, realizable in the present world, available to all the people of the earth who seek the masteries of thew spirit in every condition.
We believe in humanity and in the worth of all persons.
We believe in labor, in the opportunity of all to bring forth in their several callings the fruits of useful living, and in the right of each to the just rewards of industry.
We believe in society, in the ordered life of religion and government, of school and home, of the arts and sciences, and we rejoice in our communion with one another and with the common hopes of humanity.

FOR DAILY WORK

O God whose works are wonders of a fair and beautiful earth, we give thanks for the daily work that each of us has to do, and for the part each may have in the good works of the world. We give thanks for the benefits that are spread abroad by the common labors of all.
For those who sow the fields, till the soil, and prepare the food; for all who fashion wood and gather stones and build houses and shelters for all our doings: we are thankful.
For those who weave and sew; for those who buy and sell; for those who make all manner of things needful for human health and comfort: we are thankful.
For those who sing and dance; for those who teach and those who discover the ways of earth and space; for communicators, poets, painters, seers, composers, designers, who show us some of life’s highest joys: we are thankful.
For those who are wise in the policies of state for all who promote justice in international life; for prophets who cry shame on social wrong; for all who enlarge our sense of human rights: we are thankful.
O You who has called us to be workers together with You and with each other, we confess that we too seldom remember the many near at hand and afar who have put forth their strength, yet now starve or suffer want. Guide us to know how best to understand our times, to use our talents, and to divide the harvest.
We rejoice in the power of people in their daily toil, that day by day in all parts of the earth we may go forth to our work, helping to maintain the fabric of the world.

HAIL THE LIGHT

This day we hail the light: the light of the sun that casts a glory upon the beautiful earth; the light of the mind that gathers knowledge and seeks a growing wisdom; the light of love that transfigures all our lives. Let us here walk in the light that through all our days we may have fellowship with one another and with You, O God.

FAITH THAT UNITES

We are united in the efforts of faith:
faith in truth, in the growth of knowledge and understanding;
faith in love, in the labors and rewards of friendly living;
faith in people, in our powers to build an earthly commonwealth
of freedom and of peace;
faith in life, the life of all things that is Your life, O God, whose service
is perfect freedom, whose presence is fullness of joy.

ACT OF AFFIRMATION

We believe in You, O God, the life of all that is: sovereign in wisdom, goodness and power; and working everywhere for justice and peace and love.
We believe in the ideal of human life which reveals itself as love of You and love of humankind.
We believe in the growth of Your kingdom on earth, and that our loyalty to truth, to righteousness, and to other human beings, is the measure of our desire for its coming.
We believe that the living and the dead are in Your hands, O God, and that underneath both are Your everlasting arms.

WONDROUS POWERS

We rejoice this day in the wondrous powers of earth and sky that sustain us: the fallow soils, the sun and rain that quicken seeds and flowers, the ripening grains that grow unto the harvest..

We rejoice in the wondrous powers of our human minds and hearts, that we can remember and forecast and select our ways, that we can feel the hurt of others, that we may be ashamed and afraid, that we can laugh and sing and play, that we can reason together and together fashion a life of common good.

We rejoice that we have a part in the great web of life that holds us all, all suns and elements and every living thing. We rejoice that in all the world there is no wholly severed thing or separate creature. Yet we acknowledge that we have sought for separate goods and special favors, and that our selfish greeds have broken the great chain of being that holds all souls in life,

We remember those whose lands and homes have been despoiled by the cruelties of war and the rapacities of peace; and the brave of every race who seek true freedoms for their nations. May our own land be purged of those disrespects that dim the light of our example. May we learn anew how to give and how to receive. As they who till the soil wait upon the early and latter rain, so do we wait with thankful hearts for the abounding goods we cannot ourselves effect but only receive. As they who sow seedsand guide the plow put forth their labors in confidence and hope, we offer ourselves to perform those works of good that cannot be done save by our own doing.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Before the wonders of life, we acknowledge our failures to see and to revere; before the sanctities of life, we are ashamed of our disrespects and indignities; before the gifts of life, we own that we have made choice of lesser goods, and here today seek the gifts of the spirit; before the heroisms of life, we would be enlarged to new devotion.

FOR HEALTH AND WHOLENESS

O God of wholeness and truth, who ever moves to fashion all things complete and whole, in Your presence we see the imperfections around us; by Your light we are ashamed of the darkness of our own hearts. We have fallen short of the fulness of life that might be in us. We have not enough served the unfinished works of light in the world of many nations. Help us here to see the brightness of Your glory, that all our days we may steadfastly seek the health and wholeness of our comrades near and far.

WE CONFESS

Unseen Source of peace and holiness, we come into Your secret place to be filled with Your pure and solemn light. As we come to You, we remember that we have not walked lovingly with each other and humbly with You; that we have feared what is not terrible and wished for what is not holy. In our weakness, be the quickening power of life. Arise within our hearts as healing, strength, and joy. Day by day may we grow infaith, in charity, in the faith by which we see You, and in the larger life of love to which You call us.

WE REMEMBER

We turn to You, O Light and Life of humankind, for in Your light alone may we see the right and find the good. Here we remember those whose lives are darkened by the greed and wrong of others. We have not purged the commerce of our times of those harsh ways that hinder the hopes and dreams of many. We remember wars and rumors of war. We have made but feeble efforts to understand the peoples of the world and to foster peace among the nations. In this house of joy, we remember all sorrowing and troubled folk. Let us here be gathered into a common power of good will which shall issue in lasting peace.

OUT OF DARKNESS

We rejoice this day in the unquenchable and eternal light that lights everyone who comes into the world. In that light, we are ashamed of those greeds within us that have darkened our own souls, and those selfish customs among us that have shadowed the lives and spirits of others. We seek Your presence here, O Most High, not alone for our joy today, but to illumine the ways of all our doings until every child everywhere shall be brought out of darkness into Your marvelous light.

THE MANIFOLD RICHNESS OF LIFE

Let us rejoice in the manifold richness of life, about us and within: within us as an understanding and choice, about us as a fair and bountiful nature, and the works of generous souls;
We rejoice in the abundant life.
In the immemorial story of humankind; of struggle and venture, of sowing and reaping, of mirth and zest, of rites and assemblies, of mating and feasting, of ordered custom and new liberties won;
We rejoice in the story of humanity.
In the finding of facts and in shapes of molded form, in motions of the dance and of melody, in storied images of grief and ecstasy, in new visions of order.
We rejoice in the beauty of art and the power of knowledge.
For the rest of home, the comfort of friends, and the unending charm of persons; for the desire to work and to create, for the broad earth and the affairs of toil open before us.
We are thankful for home and friends and life’s labor.
For prophets and reformers who cry shame upon social wrong, for leaders of the people who are wise in the policies of state, for many forms of effort to build a commonwealth where all souls may reach their highest good: we are thankful.
Let us cherish the state that mighty ends may be achieved.
For shrines of faith where goods are praised and evils faced, where sorrows are healed and high purposes kindled, where our spirits are brought to that accord with all things which is at once our noblest task and most sublime joy: we are thankful.
Let us upbuild the church in strength to minister ever more abundant life and peace to all the world.

LITANY OF LEARNING

Almighty and eternal God, Source of the light that never sets and of the love that never fails, Life of our life: draw us to Yourself in trust and love.
By all the wonder and the meaning of Your order which rules over all; by the beauty which shines through all; by the ever wider knowledge and deeper life which blesses all:
Teach us and lead us ever nearer to You.
By the revelation of Yourself in the lives of all wise, great and good women and men; by the strength and grace which shine for us in the founders of great ways of life; by every living word of truth and every good example:
Teach us and lead us ever nearer to You.
By the kindness and love which have been with us from the beginning of our days, even until now; by the relations of home and the love of little children; by the faithful loyalty of friends; by the very trials and bereavements which chasten and deepen our lives; by all the blessed memories of our dead:
Teach us and lead us every nearer to You,
By the deeds of brave and generous leaders, who labor for a more just industry and a nobler state for all our people; by the vision of those who seek a fairer world for the people of other lands and peace among all nations:
Teach us and lead us ever nearer to You.
By all our experience; in health and in sickness; in joy and in sorrow; in every circumstance and in every place, O God, our Father and Mother Eternal:
Teach us and lead us ever nearer to You.

LITANY OF REJOICING

Bright Joy, Bright Joy: the joy of flowers and shining sun, the joy of smiles and play and dancing.
We rejoice in the good of nature.
Lovely Things, Beautiful Shapes and sounds: the shapes of houses and carven stones, the shapes of words together, the sounds of songs and sounds of many woven voices, winding, rhythmic.
We rejoice in the human artifice.
Darkness and Night: the dark of pain, the fret of baffling malady, the last dark, the dark of death.
We know the perils and pains of nature’s body.
Gloom and Deeper Gloom: the dim dark of knowledge never known, of spirits unillumined, the darker gloom of light denied, the dark of mercy quenched and comrades condemned.
We acknowledge the shame of evil within.
Mighty Humanity, Inventive Humanity: creator of tools and wheels, of dynamos and wings, of computation and exploration of space.
We rejoice in the masteries of humanity.
Noble Leaders, Stately Leaders: leaders of freedom and order, leaders painting new designs of thought, leaders uniting nations and citizens in durable peace amidst healthy strife.
We rejoice in the world order that is, and in nobler orders dreamed.
Folly, Wasteful Folly: the folly of war and greed, the ruin of bodies, the waste of brains, the folly of riches that stifle alike those who have not and those who have.
We acknowledge our share of guilt in the wastage of life.
Feeble Life, Futile Life: the life of pride, pride of place and pride of learning, life falsely free that draws away from common songs and common prayers.
We seek free associations that inspire people’s hopes.
Humanity Generous, Humanity Uplifted: those who lay down their lives for their friends, who give themselves that a new spirit may arise in the world.
We also would walk in newness of life.
Sublime Truth, Healing Truth: light that is light, and darkness turned to light, joy that is joy, and sorrow turned to joy.
We seek this truth for ourselves, that pain and loss may yet be turned to grace and good.
Life Before, Life Beyond, Life Within: the human spirit overcoming obstacles, the revering of the fountain forces whence we came; we on earth hoping, daring—and range on range of life beyond our power.
We rejoice in wondrous good received and good performed, and we commit ourselves with trust and zeal to that unfolding Life that holds us all.

LITANY OF GRATEFULNESS

Let us join in grateful praise for the goods of life that our ours.
With the voices and hearts of all the children of humanity, with seers and prophets, with those whose craftmanship is their song, with all who find in human service their joy made full;
We lift up our hearts in gratitude and praise.
In life; its adventures, risks and prizes; in the strength of the soul that overcomes all dangers;
We rejoice with thanksgiving.
In tasks that are hard; in work well done; in the skill of our hands; in experience, judgment, decision;
We rejoice with thanksgiving.
In knowledge; in joining fact to fact; in seeing truth in its beauty;
We rejoice with thanksgiving.
In health; in sickness that has passed away; in sorrows that have not visited us; in temptation that did not tarry at our door; in fears that turned to triumph;
We rejoice with thanksgiving.
In the faces of those we love; in the eyes that look kindly upon us even when we fail; in those with whom we are at rest;
We rejoice with thanksgiving.
In those who, though dead, yet speak, the known and the unknown, the great and the lowly, by whose lives we are enabled to live;
We rejoice and will rejoice forevermore.
Let the work of our hands declare the gladness of our hearts, and kindly deeds speak forth the gratitude within.

LITANY OF ABUNDANT LIVING

Let us rejoice in the manifold richness of life about us and within; within us as understanding and choice; about us a fair and bountiful nature and the works of generous women and men:
We rejoice in the abundant life.
In the immemorial story of human kind; of struggle and venture, of sowing and reaping, of mirth and zest, of rites and assemblies, of mating and feasting, of ordered custom and new liberties won:
We rejoice in the story of humanity.
In the finding of facts and in shapes of moulded form, in motions of the dance and of melody, in storied images of grief and of ecstasy, in new visions of order:
We rejoice in the beauty of art and the power of knowledge.
For the rest of home, the comfort of friends and the unending charm of persons; for the desire to work and create; for the broad earth and the affairs of toil open before us.
We are thankful for home and friends and life’s labor.
For prophets and reformers who cry shame upon social wrong; for leaders of the people who are wise in the policies of state; for many forms of effort to build a commonwealth where everyone may reach the highest good; we are thankful
Let us cherish the state that her mighty ends may be achieved.
For shrines of faith where goods are praised and evils faced, where sorrows are healed and high purposes kindled, where our spirits are brought to that accord with all things which is at once our noblest task and most sublime joy; we are thankful.
Let us upbuild our household of faith in strength to minister ever more abundant life and peace to all the world.

Von Ogden Vogt (1879-1964) was minister at The First Unitarian Church of Chicago, adjoining the University of Chicago, from 1925-1944. He was celebrated as a master liturgist and visionary for the architecture of the church’s grand Gothic structure, designed during his tenure. He wrote Art and Religion and Cult and Culture and coedited Hymns of the Spirit and Services of Religion.

 

Series Navigation<< Herbert F. Vetter: PrayersJoachim Wach: O Holy One >>

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