GNL number 4


A report of doings at meeting #a report of doings at meeting #4, Sunday, October 14, 2007, at the Iroquois Indian Museum
including liturgical notes, major themes, and odds and ends


a daily thanksgiving inspired by the Haudenosaunee:

  • GREETINGS and THANKS to each other as people,
  • TO THE EARTH, mother of all, greetings and thanks,
  • to all the WATERS–waterfalls and rain, rivers and oceans, greetings and thanks,
  • to all the FISH LIFE, greetings and thanks,
  • the grains and greens, beans and berries as one we give thanks to FOOD PLANTS,
  • MEDICINE HERBS of the world and their keepers, greetiings and thanks,
  • TO ALL ANIMALS, and their teachings, greetings and thanks,
  • THE TREES, for shelter and shade, fruit and beauty, greetings and thanks,
  • TO ALL BIRDS, large and small, joyful greetings and thanks,
  • and from the four directions, THE FOUR WINDS, thank you for purifying the air we breathe and giving us strength, greetings,
  • THE THUNDERERS, our grandfathers in the sky, we hear your voices, greetings and thanks,
  • and now THE SUN, for the light of a new day and all the fires of life, greetings and thanks,
  • to our oldest grandmother, THE MOON, leader of women all over the world,
  • AND THE STARS, for their mystery, beauty and guidance,greetings and thanks,
  • TO OUR TEACHERS, from all times reminding us of how to live in harmony, greetings and thanks,
  • AND FOR ALL the gifts of creation, for all the love around us, greetings and thanks,
  • and for that which is forgotten, WE REMEMBER.
  • We end our words. NOW OUR MINDS ARE ONE.


Leading the discussion on PRAYER, Jack described his morning ritual of prayers to the Spirit of God, and especially as personified for him in Jesus Christ. And he showed how he physically opens, stretching his arms out and upward in prayer. Through the day too, he said, his prayers recall his connection to and inspiration in Christ, whose words come back daily to him–“Abide in me, as I have abided in you.”

Jack said everyday he thanks God for a special blessing that helps sustain him, a “merry heart” (quoted in Proverbs), and prays to keep it!

And he described how he daily needs to ask for help in finding patience with his Parkinson’s-diminished motor skills. (Since the rest of us have observed Jack’s strong focus on and patient execution of the small steps of simple acts like shirt-buttoning, we’re feeling his prayers are heard.)

Jack’s account prompted Erynne’s description of something that’s become a morning ritual for her. When she’s hair-drying undercover and listening to NPR, she responds to this more keenly heard news, good or bad, with prayerful messages.

And it prompted declarations from Ann and Nancy that prayer (though sometimes for N a desperate call to the universe for help), was for them mostly about gratitude–seeing with grateful eyes and saying thank you in some way. E reminded us that many of the Haudenosaunee give thanks throughout the day, and this golden October day in Schoharie recalled the 100’s of such moments waiting for us out there.

Addressing the implied question (Does prayer mean words only?), we remembered a story of Jack’s about the Christian friar, Brother Lawrence, who spoke of the way he cooked his little omelet as a kind of praise, a prayer to God. And later some of us began to think of times we might have done a prayer, done something with a big smile, joy showing all over our face–maybe dancing in the kitchen to rock and roll, or hanging out the wash on a fresh fall day, or telling jokes with little kids, or whistling to the birds as you walked….(like our friend Jack, with his merry heart?)


…was a traditional healing song from the family of Healing Earth Woman, on the recording Now Our Minds Are One, by Lawrence Laughing, a Mohawk.

We listened with closed eyes


NEXT TIME: Sunday, Nov. 11 (1030), at Ann and Elliott’s house, 107 Pavilion Ave., Sharon Springs. Topic: What are the daily RITUALS that bring us back home. Sue will lead the discussion.

Another Date to note: Monday, Oct. 29 (7pm)–Interfaith Program for Women, Celebrating the Sabbath, with speakers representing five faiths (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Native American spirituality, and Christianity). Held at Shenendahowa United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 971 Rte 146, Clifton Park. (Vegetarian pot luck supper at 6. Contact Sue Spivack at for more info)

The Day After this October meeting on PRAYER, several wonderful items appeared as if divinely. A couple follow below

To pray, you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles of motion
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River, Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon, within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty,
In beauty.
—Joy Harjo

….be awake to the Life
that is loving you and
sing your prayer, laugh your prayer,
dance your prayer, run
and weep and sweat your prayer,
sleep your prayer, eat your prayer,
paint, sculpt, hammer and read your prayer,
sweep, dig, rake, drive and hoe your prayer,
garden and farm and build and clean your prayer,
wash, iron, vacuum, sew, embroider and pickle your prayer,
compute, touch, bend and fold but never delete or mutilate your prayer,
Learn and play your prayer,
work and rest your prayer,
fast and feast your prayer,
argue, talk, whisper, listen and shout your prayer,
groan and moan and spit and sneeze your prayer,
swim and hunt and cook your prayer,
digest and become your prayer,
release and recover your prayer,
breathe your prayer,
be your prayer.
—Alla Renee Bozarth


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