**Alternate** First Reading: A Ritual of Autumn Welcoming by Ed Hays

“A Ritual of Autumn Welcoming” from “Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim” by Ed Hays.

Welcome, Autumn, arms full of summer’s blessings,

          carrying the seeds of life for next year’s planting.

Come, enter my home with your golden wisdom;

         be my guest and share my table.


Welcome, Old Wise One,

         may I be your student in the school of gratitude.

Guide me in reflecting upon the summer now gone,

          that I might give thanks for all the many gifts

           that have enriched me in that season of growth.


I greet you, spirits of darkness

        that dwell in the night and within me.

While you are frightening, you are also a source of power;

         may all your spirits that reside in me

         live in harmony with the Spirit of the Holy.


Amen +

The words of Edward Hays