A Dietrich Bonhoeffer Hymn for New Year’s — Art & Theology

Thinking of the jailed human rights activists and journalists, detained migrants, prisoners of war, and ordinary people held in filtration camps and torture chambers – a poignant prayer penned by Dietrich Bonhoeffer for the beginning of the New Year 2023. Thank-you Victoria Emily Jones for your blog “Art and Theology” and for this post.

The German theologian and Nazi resister Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote the poem “Von guten Mächten” (By Gracious Powers), his last theological work, in December 1944 while he was imprisoned in a basement cell at the Reich Security Main Office on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse in Berlin. He sent it in a letter to his fiancée, Maria von Wedemeyer, with […]

A Dietrich Bonhoeffer Hymn for New Year’s — Art & Theology

Brother Sun, Sister Moon – Teach us!

Some say that awe-inspiring sights like solar eclipses encourage empathy and generosity and group cohesion. I don’t know if today’s eclipse, which will be viewed by millions, can bring about more peace and cooperation in our increasingly fractious world, but it is worth praying for:

Brother Sun, Sister Moon,

as millions of people turn their attention to the solar eclipse today,

may your cosmic dance inspire not only awe and wonder,

but also teach us humility about our place in the universe

and encourage us to pursue peace and cooperation with one another

for the sake of our fragile planet home.


[NASA photo; in the public domain]


Prayer during BC Wildfires


We pray for all those whose lives have been disrupted by the wildfires raging throughout our province. We pray for those on the move, and for those still in their homes, cutoff from electric power–their bags packed, with their cell phones batteries quickly depleting, and waiting for the evacuation order.

We pray for those who are fighting the fires with their shovels and hoses, for those who pilot the aircraft dumping water on the fires, those who give directions and escort people to safety, and those who water roofs and save houses.

We pray for those who have lost homes and photographs, treasures and pets.

We pray for those who do not know if their houses remain, and those who wait without hearing any news at all.

May your courage be with those fighting the fire…may your comfort be with all those who are hurting…


adapted from“Service of Worship During the Firestorm,” by Rev. Mark Wiley 

(photo in public domain)



A Prayer for the Children of Connecticut

On Friday, December 14, 2012, 20 children were killed in a shooting rampage at an elementary scool in Newtwon, Connecticut. Seven adults, including the gunman, also died at the scene. As the families and freinds of he deceased mourn the loss of their loved ones, we pray for the children, and for all those whose lives have been affected by this tragedy.

This image has been donated to the public domain. You can learn more about its creation and the symbolism of its colors at m3cflag.com

Our hearts are broken.

Today, in the midst of holiday cheer, 

we are painfully reminded of the cruelty and fragility of our lives together.

How do we live with such unimaginable grief?

How do we comfort such intolerable pain?

How do we care for each other in a world where violence seems so readily accessible?

Great comforter and protector,

We have no answers.

No words that can heal the broken heartedness we feel.

–Alydia Smith

You can download the full text of the prayer by clicking on the link at the United Church of Canada



In this Time of Disruption, Let Your Presence Be Known

I offer the following prayer for staff and patients affected by the recent accidental flood at Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department.  I am grateful to L. Annie Foerster and her collection of prayers in For Praying Out Loud  for providing inspiration.


Photo credit: fine_idea

Honoring the diversity of our spiritual heritages and the unity of our human condition let us join our hearts in a spirit of prayer for all affected by the accidental flood at Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department.

Sustaining and creating Spirit, be vitally present to administrators, project leaders, and medical officers as they work tirelessly to assess the damage, put in place interim measures and restore services.

Spirit of Life, we give thanks that no patients were harmed and that only one staff person was injured.  We pray for her recovery at home. Bring peace to the patients that have been transferred to other sites or re-directed to other medical centres. Let your presence be known and resettle their hearts in your love

Spirit of Love, we give thanks for families caring for loved ones. Let your presence be known through the warmth of their hands as they reach out to touch and comfort and soothe.

Spirit of Compassion, we give thanks for all caregivers and front-line staff and for their willingness to do whatever is right and necessary for the well-being and safety of the persons they serve. Through their commitment and selfless giving let your presence be known.

At the heart of our healthcare institutions is a community of care. We are bound to one another. We belong to and with each other. Holy One, whom we call by different names, as Fraser Health staff, administrators and community partners seek to embody your love in the work of caring–especially in this time of disruption–let your presence be known. So be it. Amen.