The following was spoken by Heather Linsley, Worship Leader today, February 28th, in my home church. I share her words and prayers with her permission. – Betsy Schwarzentraub
For those of us who have secretly (or not so secretly) wished we had just one more hour in the day in which to get to the seemingly endless tasks on the To Do List done, here is not just an hour but a whole day! February 29th, leap day, the extra day that our astronomical community has given us in order to reposition the earth in its orbit around the Sun.
In looking for a few factoids to share with you about leap years, I discovered a wide range of traditions that various cultures have regarding the calendar. Our Gregorian Calendar is a pretty good one, only off by a day every 3,236 years, but the Iranian Calendar is only off by a day every 110,000 years. The Chinese Calendar, based on lunar cycles, gives us a whole leap month every three years. The Jewish or Hebrew Calendar also adds a whole month seven times with a nineteen-year period, calling those leap years Shanah Me’uberet, or “pregnant years.”
My point with all of this trivia is that no matter where you live or what your cultural or faith tradition, time plays a central role in our lives. But time is not determined by the whims of an individual, but rather by phenomena far outside human control, be it the oscillations of a Cesium atom, the rotation of the Earth, the revolution of the Earth around the Sun, or the Moon around the Earth. Let us pray. . . [Laughter from congregation] . . . No, seriously:
Prayer for Gathering
Lord, tomorrow we know the Earth will keep spinning and moving in its cyclical path around the Sun. Help us to claim just a few of those leap seconds for ourselves. Help us to “reposition” ourselves in our own orbit around You. Remind us that You are the force that guides us on our daily path, and You are the standard by which we measure our time on Earth. Amen.
Prayer for Offering
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of time, with all of these precious gifts. May we use these offerings to position You at the center of our faith community. May we be good stewards of the time You have given us and these financial gifts offered in Your name and the name of Your Son. Amen.