The Interfaith Contact Group
The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group

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Celebrating the Spirit of Sacred Summer and Light

June 16, 2021

Living near the sea, it’s impossible not to be affected by the resonance of summer, the very special light of the season and its sheer beauty… in the sky and on the water. Bearing this in mind we have a selection of prayers and readings that reflect the spirit of summer in all its glory.

We open with a summer prayer by Rabindranath Tagore, this is followed by a Summer Solstice Prayer, and then a Navaho verse – House Made of Dawn. This is followed by a sacred piece about summer, by Rainer Maria Rilke, and we close with a blessing to Light, by John O’Donohue.

The IFCG has a busy programme of activities in the autumn, and for this reason, and because more and more of us are getting out and about, we have paused with Words of Connection for a while.

Thank you so much for your inspiration, ideas and support,

Very best wishes

Anthea
Chair IFCG

 

Summer Prayer
Rabindranath Tagore (!861-1941)

 

I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side.
The works that I have in hand
I will finish afterwards.

Away from the sight of thy face
My heart knows no rest or respite,
And my work becomes an endless toil
In a shoreless sea of toil……

Today the summer has come at my window
With its sighs and murmurs,
And the bees are plying their minstrelsy
At the court of the flowering grove.

Now it is time to sit quiet
Face-to-face with thee,
And to sing dedication of life
In the silent and overflowing leisure.

 

Prayer at Summer Solstice

Spirit of Life, Source of all Being:

We stand on the edge of the Summer Solstice,
the longest day of the year,
the time when the earth’s tilt brings us
closest to the sun.

It is the time of most promise,
the most lush growth—
and yet also the time
when daylight begins receding.

Both at once,
both splendour and loss at once.

This is how it is here
on this beautiful blue-green ball
hurtling through the vastness of space.

There is great joy here.
There is terrible pain here.
And with it all,
there are moments
of illumination and grace.

May we be thankful for all of it
for in better and in worse
this is where we belong.

Here on Earth is where we belong.
Blessed be.

 

House Made of Dawn
Navajo chant and verse

House made of dawn
House made of evening light
House made of the dark cloud
House made of male rain
House made of dark mist
House made of female rain
House made of pollen
House made of grasshoppers
Dark cloud is at the door
The trail out of it is dark cloud
The zigzag lightning stands high upon it

An offering I make
Restore my feet for me
Restore my legs for me
Restore my body for me
Restore my mind for me
Restore my voice for me

This very day take out your spell for me
Happily I recover
Happily my interior becomes cool
Happily I go forth
My interior feeling cool, may I walk
No longer sore, may I walk
Impervious to pain, may I walk
With lively feelings may I walk
As it used to be long ago, may I walk
Happily may I walk
Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I
Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk
Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk
Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk
Happily may I walk
Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk
May it be beautiful before me
May it be beautiful behind me
May it be beautiful below me
May it be beautiful above me
May it be beautiful all around me
In beauty it is finished
In beauty it is finished

 

Lord it is time…
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Lord it is time. The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials,
and on the meadows let the winds go loose.

Command the last fruits that they shall be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfilment and drive
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.

Who has no house now, will build him one no more.
Who is alone now, long will so remain,
will wake, read, write long letters
and will in the avenues to and fro
restlessly wander, when the leaves are blowing.

 

For Light
John O’Donohue (1956-2008)

Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.

 

In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.

 

That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.

 

That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.

 

When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.

 

That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.

 

When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.

When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.

 

When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.

 

As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.

 

And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The colour and stillness
Of a found word.