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A Poem-Prayer of Reconciliation

A Poem-Prayer of Reconciliation
Lent is a season of repentance and reconciliation. It is a time when we look back at what we have done and left undone as individuals, as community, and as a Church and a nation. We look back and reflect so that we can change, go forward and love more deeply. This love leads us to reconciliation, to building a life together with those we have harmed. In Lent, we observe where our behavior and our perspective have hurt others, ourselves and creation. We ask forgiveness and seek to change our behavior. The traditional language of the service of Compline, or night prayer, asks God that we may have time for repentance, to make a change of heart and action.

This Lent Deacon Kay is leading a beautiful study on the indigenous peoples of our region and more broadly in the U.S. with a focus on learning what we have done and left undone, on the depth of the peoples our ancestors conquered and on our shared, intertwined spirituality, especially in the Episcopal church. Please join us Wednesdays 6:30-7:30 to pray, learn, repent and reconcile.

In the spirit of this season and in deep appreciation of the people who lived on this land before the United States was colonized and whose current lives and heritage enrich and bless us all,  I offer this poem-prayer by Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation and Poet Laureate of the United States.   

With every blessing,

Mother Elizabeth

Reconciliation - A Prayer
by Joy Harjo

I
We gather by the shore of all knowledge as peoples who were put here by a god who wanted relatives.
This god was lonely for touch, and imagined herself as a woman, with children to suckle, to sing with - to continue the web of the terrifyingly beautiful cosmos of her womb.
This god became a father who wished for others to walk beside him in the belly of creation.
This god laughed and cried with us as a sister at the sweet tragedy of our predicament - foolish humans -
Or built a fire, as a brother to keep us warm.
This god who grew to love us became our lover, sharing tables of food enough for everyone in this whole world.
II
Oh sun, moon, stars, our other relatives peering at us from the inside of god's house walk with us as we climb into the next century naked but for the stories we have of each other. Keep us from giving up in this land of nightmares which is also the land of miracles.
We sing our song which we've been promised has no beginning or end.
III
All acts of kindness are lights in the war for justice.
IV
We gather up these strands broken from the web of life. They shiver with our love, as we call them the names of our relatives and carry them to our home made of the four direction and sing:
Of the south, where we feasted and were given new clothes.
Of the west, where we gave up the best of us to the stars as food for the battle.
Of the north, where we cried because we were forsaken by our dreams.
Of the east because returned to us is the spirit of all that we love.

© 1994 Joy Harjo.The Woman Who Fell From The Stars, Norton.
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