Pastors are asked to do a variety of things that don't quite fit into the standard definition of ministry: judging a chili cook-off, calling a football game, or driving in a parade come to mind. A while back, I was asked to offer an invocation at the dedication of a local butterfly garden at a county-owned park.
I was glad to do it, but I wanted to be true to my prayer life as a Christian without drawing the ire of church & state rabble rousers. Also, I didn't see the need to get any of the county employees in trouble for asking me to lead in prayer.
Some may criticize me for not being more Gospel-centered. After all, there's never a wrong time to share the message of Christ. I would not feel comfortable offering prayer at an interfaith event or sharing a platform with religious leaders who do not share my faith in Christ. But I felt good about my role in this simple event and have been blessed to maintain relationships with several others who attended.
Here is the prayer I offered:
Our Heavenly Father,
In Your promises, we’re given life.
With each morning Your mercies are new
As we gather here today in the sights
and sounds of life surrounding us,
We give thanks:
For the song of the sparrow
For the ripple of the river
For the imperceptible flutter of the butterfly’s wings.
After a quiet season in their cocoon
they emerge full of life.
After a quiet moment with them in our gaze
we emerge in life.
Thank you for those who have worked so hard
to provide a haven for these delicate creatures.
Thank you for today’s moment
of celebrating their tender beauty
and speak to our hearts.
As art reflects the artist
so let created reflect Creator.
We give You the Glory, Amen.