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Archive for the ‘Prayers’ Category

A Thanksgiving Prayer

I give thanks for the earth and its gifts of grain, fruit, vegetable, and legume.

I give thanks for water. It is a part of me and I am connected to it. For the fluidity of life as expressed in lakes, rivers, oceans and the blood that runs through me.

I give thanks to the spirits of the animals who have given their life for the meat I enjoy throughout the year.

I give thanks for trees… for their ability to produce life-giving oxygen, cooling shade, the soothing rustle of leaves, and heat in the cold winter.

I give thanks for the flowers that remind me that rebirth is possible – life after death is a reality in the world.

I give thanks to the birds of the sky who show me that it is possible to soar and still land on my feet and be connected to the earth.

I give thanks for my faith community which has given me love, support, and shown me through actions, the true meaning of charity, peace, understanding and unconditional love.

Today, and every day, I give thanks for my family… my chosen mom, and my dear friends who are more family to me than those with whom I share blood, and who mean more to me than words can adequately express.

For my friend in the US – Enjoy your Thanksgiving. For those outside the US – have a wonderful week!

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This past Sunday was the first Sunday in our four-week Peace and Justice series at Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Louis. Since cranes have become a peace symbol, after the story of a small girl named Sadako in Japan spread throughout the world, a friend of mine started our church community folding origami cranes several months ago as Sadako Sasaki did so many years ago. But would we reach 1,000? What does 1,000 cranes look like?

Like this:

cranes1

cranes2

cranes3

cranes4

cranes5

cranes6

Personally, I am only responsible for folding, or partially folding, 25 cranes (my three vacation buddies and I did some of these on our vacation and we did a bit of an assembly line – each completing a part).

The sermon itself was just incredible. It talks about the story of Sadako Sasaki and of peace and justice. Listen to it here (with music prelude).

If you are in the St. Louis area and get a chance to stop by and see this in person, it truly is an incredible sight!

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Ash Wednesday

Today is the first day of Lent – a religious season I generally ignore or try and creep through as though through a path covered with overgrown rose bushes… just trying to get to the other end with as few scraps and scars as possible – and without tearing open old wounds.

In the past I have given up meat, chocolate and alcohol – because you are supposed to give up something. For some reason the feeling of deprivation was suppose to bring me closer to God. Personally, it never really did much for me except make me cranky.

In more recent years I have also done without things which left me in a better place – a means to an end. Those years I gave up electricity for one day a week during Lent I did more reading and was more in-tune to the cycle of the day. I woke when the sun came up and went to bed when it was no longer available to provide light for reading. And, for many years I also gave up church (“I gave up church for Lent” usually gets a few chuckles) primarily to avoid as many of those aforementioned thorns.

This year I don’t want to “give up” anything, rather I want to delve into and experience that I haven’t really spent much time on previously.   Wish me luck with this endeavor.

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A friend asked me about my Thanksgiving Prayer – and asked if was of Native American descent. My name might suggest that I am, but my looks are decidedly Nordic. My name was made up almost 20 years ago and I had it legally changed back then.

Even though I am not Native American, I find Native American prayers and their reverence for the land very appealing and spiritual for me.

For Christmas six years ago, my chosen parents gave me a wonderful book of prayers of all different faith traditions called: “God Makes the Rivers to Flow”; Eknath Easwaran; Nilgiri Press; 1991. My favorite is a Native American Prayer. I have tried to find it printed out on the Internet to send to folks, but found only abbreviated versions. Below I have typed out the entire prayer as found in this book. As I assume it to be a very old prayer (some versions credit a translation in 1887 to Chief Yellow Lark), I figure it is safe to reprint it here.

Oh Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me.
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty
and let my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lesson you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be greater than my brother or sister
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready
to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes
So when life fades as a fading sunset
my spirit may come to you without shame.

Great Spirit of love,
come to me with the power of the North.
Make me courageous when the cold winds of life
fall upon me.
Give me strength and endurance for everything
that is harsh,
everything that hurts,
everything that makes me squint.
Make me move through life ready to take what comes
from the North.

Spirit who comes out of the East,
come to me with the power of the rising sun.
Let there be light in my word.
Let there be light on the path that I walk.
Let me remember always that you give the gift of a
new day.
Never let me be burdened with sorrow by not
starting over.

Great Spirit of creation,
send me the warm and soothing winds
from the South.
Comfort me and caress me when I am tired and cold.
Enfold me as your gentle breezes enfold your leaves
on the trees.
And as you give to all the earth your warm,
moving wind,
Give to me so that I may grow close to you in warmth.
Great life-giving Spirit,
I face the West,
the direction of the sundown.
Let me remember every day that the moment will come
when my sun will go down.
Never let me forget that I must fade into you.
Give me a beautiful color.
Give me a great sky for setting,
and when it is time to meet you,
I come with glory.

And Giver of all life,
I pray to you from the earth,
help me to remember as I touch the earth
that I am little and need your pity.
Help me to be thankful for the gift of the earth
and never to walk hurtfully on the world.
Bless to love what comes from mother earth
and teach me how to love your gifts.

Great Spirit of the heavens,
lift me up to you
that my heart may worship you
and come to you in glory.
Hold in my memory that you are my Creator,
greater than I,
eager for my good life.
Let everything that is in the world
lift my mind,
and my heart,
and my life to you
so that we may come always to you
in truth and in heart.

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Today I give thanks for the earth and its gifts of grain, fruit, vegetable, and legume.

Today I give thanks for water. It is a part of me and I am connected to it. For the fluidity of life as expressed in lakes, rivers, oceans and the blood that runs through me.

Today I give thanks to the spirits of the animals who have given their life for the meat I enjoy throughout the year.

Today I give thanks for trees… for their ability to produce life-giving oxygen, cooling shade, the soothing rustle of leaves, and heat in the cold winter.

Today I give thanks for the flowers that remind me that rebirth is possible – life after death is a reality in the world.

Today I give thanks to the birds of the sky who show me that it is possible to soar and still land on my feet and be connected to the earth.

Today I give thanks for my faith community which has given me love, support, and shown me through actions, the true meaning of charity, peace, understanding and unconditional love.

Today, and every day, I give thanks for my family… my chosen mom, and my dear friends who are more family to me than those with whom I share blood, and who mean more to me than words can adequately express.

Today is my day of thanksgiving… enjoy yours!

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