Fifteen years ago this month, I flew out to Seattle from Chicago to interview with a church that proceeded to hire me as their lead pastor. Although I’d been raised in Washington State, it had been a quarter of a century since I’d lived here. That unusually warm and sunny February weekend revealed the amazing beauty of the Pacific Northwest I’d forgotten. I realized how much I loved Washington.
It is that love of our state I celebrated recently. Whereas Valentine’s Day tends to bring out the poet in many a romantic, I found myself waxing poetic. Having been invited to give the opening invocation at the State Capitol in Olympia, I decided to pen my prayer in rhyme. What follows is my Valentine’s Day Prayer with gratitude for our beloved state:
Creator God, we render thanks
for salmon grilled on cedar planks.
For snow-capped mountains, tulip fields
and rivers cold and clean.
We love our state of Washington
where millions come to share our fun
at ski resorts and Lake Chelan
and in the San Juans, too.
Good Lord, there can be no mistake.
Our hearts beat proudly for a state
that woos us with her endless charm
and beauty that won’t quit.
For public markets by the Bay
and venues where our sports teams play,
for landmarks needling the sky
and piers where cruise ships dock.
We give You thanks for Mount Rainier
that symbolizes You are near.
Its awesome wonder we behold
speaks grace we can’t ignore.
For businesses of which we boast,
we offer prayers and make a toast
that they will prosper and succeed
within this new decade.
For Starbucks, Costco, Amazon,
Microsoft, the list goes on
including Nordstrom, REI,
Expedia and more.
Potatoes, orchards, vineyards, wheat
help feed our world and offer drink
to celebrate that life’s a gift
we unwrap every day.
For those who hunger without homes,
who struggle daily on their own,
we pray protection even as
we seek to end their plight.
Most gracious God, as we confess
our need for You, would You please bless
the ones who lead us. Help them strive
to serve with dignity.
So in this week of Valentine’s,
our love’s expressed with words that rhyme
as we commit to care for this
great state we call our home.