You Embrace the Smallest

You Embrace the Smallest

Photo: Paul Rogers, Minneapolis

© 2017 Bret Hesla.

You embrace the smallest of creatures
You embrace the whole universe
Your tenderness knows no end
We, too, rest in your arms.
You embrace the widest of oceans
You embrace the thinnest of hopes
Your tenderness knows no end
We, too, rest in your loving arms.

This song is part of a cycle of song I wrote with my friend Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Singing Prayers for the Earth (2017). The text of this song is inspired by Pope Francis’s 2015 Encyclical, in which is found “A Prayer for Our Earth.” I like to portray the sense that humans are just a part of the whole, the beautiful wide endless details of the cosmos. This feeling, we’re a part of something bigger, doesn’t feel like a humbling to me. It feels like warm understanding of belonging.

You can use this refrain by itself, or interspersed with readings or prayers. The recording is an example of the latter, using the text below.

[Prayer: “Arms of Renewal”  © 2017 Bret Hesla]

Arms of Renewal, you hold in your healing embrace the earth that sustains us, the green life that covers the seas and land, the microscopic cells whose gifts to us we are unaware of, the rocks and particles who by not being alive are seen merely as resources rather than siblings wrapped in the same sweet bear-hug. Help us to feel your arms of healing, and to be those arms for the places we live, as we learn to renew the healthy habitats of wholeness. 

Arms of Refuge, you hold in your tender embrace all our families who flee their homes, all those among us who flee from poverty, all of our girls who seek to escape trafficking, the birds threatened by loss of their forest homes, the seas threatened with the runoffs of our growing appetites, the parklands shaved ever thinner from all sides. Help us to feel your refuge in our communities both human and wider, and help us to be the arms of refuge for one another: 

Arms of Compassion, you hold in your tender embrace all of us who struggle with our health, all of us who daily live with mental illness, all of us who suffer from the moral and physical wounds of war. All of us who need healing. We carry all these names in our hearts, and we set their care upon the combined voices of this singing … [pause] … Help us to feel your compassionate arms around us all, and to be those arms for one another 

Embracer of all things, may we live in gratitude for your gifts of love. Amen.

Words and music by Bret Hesla.
© 2017 Bret Hesla. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Licensed via, Contact:
Vocals, Harmonica: Bret Hesla
Piano: Tom Witt
String Bass: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
Reader: Larry Dittberner



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