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God of pelicans and emus,
God of wetlands and deserts,
God of strangers, neighbors and friends,
yours is a world of astonishing grace.

When the morning sun creeps silently over the hills,
and the day begins to hum with activity,
we remind ourselves that this day too belongs to you.
Our lives are wrapped in the movement of time
stretching all the way back
to the day you first called forth light.

With an Artist’s hand you drew the contours
of land and sea, hillside and valley,
and a sky that stretches beyond human imagining.
Yet you left room for other artists, made in your image,
to add their interpretive strokes of shadow and light.

You encourage us to observe the beauty in and around us,
so that we too can create places where hope shines through.
Yet some days we grow tired
and our partnership with you seems like mere duty.
Some days our eyes grow weary
and we cannot see the world in hopeful ways.

Grant us your vision,
God who is Spirit,
God who is Artist,
God who breathes life into our lives.

Help us to see anew the possibilities before us—
to welcome the stranger in our midst,
to welcome the beauty of this day,
to welcome the grace that is life with you and one another.

Photos taken by Dallis Richardson at Montana de Oro State Park near Los Osos, California. Words by Mark Richardson.