Shamash was the Sun God of ancient Babylon. The prayer that follows is one of the longest and most beautiful of the hymns that have come down to us in cuneiform. I think this would make an awesome invocation, prayer, or meditation to greet the Sun as morning dawns after the longest night of the year (The Winter Solstice).
You climb to the mountains surveying the earth,
You suspend from the heavens the circle of the lands.
You care for all the peoples of the lands,
And everything that Ea, king of the counselors, had created is entrusted to you.
Whatever has breath you shepherd without exception,
You are their keeper in upper and lower regions.
Regularly and without cease you traverse the heavens,
Every day you pass over the broad earth. . . .
Shepherd of that beneath, keeper of that above,
You, Shamash, direct, you are the light of everything.
You never fail to cross the wide expanse of sea,
The depth of which the Igigi know not.
Shamash, your glare reaches down to the abyss
So that monsters of the deep behold your light. . . .
Among all the Igigi there is none who toils but you,
None who is supreme like you in the whole pantheon of gods.
At your rising the gods of the land assemble,
Your fierce glare covers the land.
Of all the lands of varied speech,
You know their plans, you scan their way.
The whole of mankind bows to you,
Shamash, the universe longs for your light. . . .
Every single person is entrusted to your hands;
You manage their omens; that which is perplexing you make plain.
You observe, Shamash, prayer, supplication, and benediction,
Obeisance, kneeling, ritual murmurs, and prostration.
The feeble man calls you from the hollow of his mouth,
The humble, the weak, the afflicted, the poor,
She whose son is captive constantly and unceasingly confronts you.
He whose family is remote, whose city is distant,
The shepherd [amid) the terror of the steppe confronts you,
The herdsman in warfare, the keeper of sheep among enemies.
Shamash, there confronts you the caravan, those journeying in fear,
The travelling merchant, the agent who is carrying capital.
Shamash, there confronts you the fisherman with his net,
The hunter, the bowman who drives the game,
With his bird net the Fowler confronts You.
The prowling thief, the enemy of Shamash,
The marauder along the tracks of the steppe confronts you.
The roving dead, the vagrant soul,
They confront you, Shamash, and you hear all.
You do not obstruct those that confront you. . . .
For my sake, Shamash, do not curse them!
You grant revelations, Shamash, to the families of men,
Your harsh face and fierce light you give to them. . . .
The heavens are not enough as the vessel into which you gaze,
The sum of the lands is inadequate as a seer’s bowl…….
You deliver people surrounded by mighty waves,
In return you receive their pure, clear libations. . . .
They in their reverence laud the mention of you,
And worship your majesty for ever. . . .
Which are the mountains not clothed with your beams?
Which are the regions not warmed by the brightness of your light?
Brightener of gloom, illuminator of darkness,
Dispeller of darkness, illuminator of the broad earth.
Most high, all-powerful, all good, Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor
And all blessing.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy
To pronounce your name.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day; and light you give to us
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright
And precious and fair.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all the weather’s moods,
By which you cherish all that you have made.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
so useful, lowly, precious, and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful he is, how joyful!
Full of power and strength.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth,
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces
Various fruits and colored flowers and herbs.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon
For love of you; through those who endure
Sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
By you, Most High, they will be crowned.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
From whose embrace no mortal can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those She finds doing your will!
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.
by St. Francis of Assisi, Translation from the original Italian
Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
By Rabbi Harold Kushner
Lord Sun, life of day!
In your fire-boat gliding through golden rays!
Extend yourself, with hands of light,
To us who worship in your sight,
And in your ancient names rejoice,
And hear the mystery of your voice.
Lady Moon, cloud bound,
Of liquid light and pale hounds,
Course among us — Your light diffuse!
Shed your blessings on us who choose
The evening worship by silver flame,
Singing your thousand living names.
Invocation by Olwen Fferyllt