Prayers for the Persecuted
Recently I’ve been practicing a tradition that many Native American tribes begin each morning, each meeting, each ceremony with: gratitude. I’ve been speaking aloud a version of a prayer of thanksgiving translated by a member of the Mohawk tribe, Jake Swamp. Using borrowed words, I give thanks for Mother Earth, for the winds and water, for the trees and food plants, for the animals, for the sun and moon, for the people around me who fill my life with love. I’ve learned to start my day with all that is good.
So today I want to use gratitude to lift up the things for which we fight, and the places in whom we want to plant our love, so that we might remember why we do.
Let us join our minds together as one in thanksgiving.
I give thanks for the indigenous people of this land. They learned from the land, cultivated it, and loved it. We have so much to learn from them; those who have suffered at our hands. Right now we stand on the land of the Wichita tribe. We should be speaking their language. But as we are not, I give thanks for the opportunity to learn to love our land, as those who have been here since time began do, to see it as a living entity - because it is.
I give thanks for the immigrants, here in our country, no matter how they came to be here. I give thanks that they bring their culture here, and share the things that they love with us, so that we may open our hearts and minds to new ideas and experiences. May we extend our hands to our neighbors, and may we accept them as they come, rather than expecting assimilation.
I give thanks for those that religion has sought to erase because of their sexuality or gender identity. I don’t believe in a God that would ever take our identities from us, and I give thanks for places of worship that would not ask anyone to be anyone whom they are not. I give thanks for all expressions of love. We were created in love, so how could we not?
I give thanks for the activist and the advocate - who stands beside those being persecuted and lifts their voice for justice. I give thanks for the ally. As they lay down their privilege, I lift up joy.
I give thanks for women. I give thanks for my mother, my grandmother, all of my sisters in the world, I give thanks for myself. I give thanks that even though we have many reasons to fear, that we stand together and become stronger. I life my head because no source of love and justice would beat women down.
I give thanks for the spirit of creation that lives in us - May she continue to guide our steps toward a love that doesn’t let anyone fall through the cracks.
Our minds are now at one together in gratitude.
Photo by Dulcey Lima