Lord, our creator, you are truly the master of diversity, as you are of all things. We are incapable of conceiving or understanding your limitless power and influence. You have given us a world with unimaginable variety and colour, which in our foolishness we try to limit by generalization, classification and science. Forgive us our childish attempts to qualify and quantify your creation into measurable units, to be owned, loved, hated, compared, judged, and restricted.
The world, lord, under your care, holds six thousand million people. And not two of them are identical. May we realize -once and for all - that we cannot conveniently slot people into groups by race, appearance, age or anything else, because you have made them all different, unique. They are all hand made. By your hand.
We give thanks that you have over six thousand and eight hundred different names, since there are that many different languages in the world. Burn away our prejudices against the speakers of those six thousand, seven hundred and ninety-nine other languages, who we ill judge, simply because they speak their love of you with different words.
O, Creator. We live in just one of a hundred and ninety countries. We give thanks that ours, Australia, is free from terrorism, political turmoil and war. Yet there are so many that are not. We pray for peace in every country, because despite individual governments, and despite individual leaders, the children are always the victims. We pray for Israel and Palestine, for America and Iraq, for India and Pakistan. For all countries at war, or in disharmony. Open their eyes and their hearts to peaceful co-existence, and freedom from fear or attack.
And we remember with sadness the events of September 11th, 2001 and those who lost their lives, or their loved ones on that day. We pray that you will support them, and guide them, and in time restore the colour to lives still filled with grey.
And although that day cost the lives of nearly three thousand people, over ten times as many children die each and every day from preventable disease and malnutrition. Over thirty-seven thousand each day. Please, Lord, help us address their needs - help us be more compassionate, more generous, and more inventive in finding ways to address this appalling situation.
Lord, we have built fifty thousand nuclear bombs, and sixty million landmines. This is not diversity. This is not your creation. This is our pride, our fear, and our destruction. We pray for your help, Lord, to unbuild these technological evils, and to build in their place, relationships of mutual trust and co-operation.
There are as many different pleasures, and causes of joy as there are sufferings and miseries. So now we wish to give thanks, for the good things - the rainbows.
When we stare up into your heavens and marvel at even a single shining star, we may - sometimes - be impressed by the millions that we can see. Even then, we may need to be reminded that there are 33 times as many stars in the Milky Way alone, as there are people living on this tiny planet. The size and scale of your creation is so immense that we cannot even begin to comprehend it. Let us be reminded of your unimaginable greatness whenever we see but one star.
Lord, when we see a simple spider, we sometimes need reminding that it is just one of thirty-five thousand different types of spider. Like the millions of different varieties of flys, and mosquitoes, and so forth, we do not always fully appreciate the complex roles you intend these to play in your creation, and we ask your forgiveness for thinking of them (when we do) with contempt or disdain.
We give thanks for the ten thousand species of birds, one hundred and fifty breeds of dog (a hundred and fifty one if you count the bitzer), and twenty thousand varieties of fish. And though the birds sometimes eat our seed, or mess on our car; although the dogs sometimes bark when we would rather they didn’t; and although the fish sometimes prefer to eat us rather than the other way around, we are grateful and give thanks for the roles they play in our lives.
When we see a flower, it is just one variety of over four hundred and twenty-two thousand types. From an unbelievable number of different types of plants, you have provided us with some to look at, some to smell, and some to eat. Each shrub, each flower, each herb, each tree, is there by your design. We give thanks for all of them, (even those we call weeds, for which we have no purpose, but you do.)
And we give thanks for our friends, families and relations who support us throughout our lives.
We give thanks also, for our Minister/s, and pray for their continued health and safety.
We pray also for the members of our congregation. Some are young, some are not. Some are quiet, some are not. Some are healthy, some are not. Some are with us, some, are not. Keep them safe, healthy, and in your presence.
And we pray for the Uniting Church, Presbytery, and Elders. Lead them that they may lead us.
(Oh, ) And Lord. Help us to see rainbows every day.