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Standing with Standing Rock

October 31, 2016

The following invitation and prayer were offered by The Rev. Sarah Henkel during Sunday worship at The White Plains Presbyterian Church on Reformation Sunday, October 30, 2016.

A friend of mine recently returned from Standing Rock where they – as a part of  Jewish delegation – were accompanying Native peoples from across the nation who have been camped in the path of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline since April.  

I spoke at length with my friend about their experience.   There is much to share.

One thing I want to remind all of us this morning:  what is happening at the Sacred Stones camp in Standing Rock is a prayer movement.  

Thousands of people indigenous to this country and to countries around the world have been joining – both physically and in spirit – to pray for the protection of water, for the protection of the land, for the protection of Native people, Native American lives.

strandingrock_graphic1

My friend said that during these prayers and ceremonies, eagles would circle overhead, a reminder that all creation is joining in these prayers.  This morning we join our prayers with the Water Protectors in Standing Rock, with the eagles and all of creation crying out for liberation:

God of all things,
The breath filling our breath
The life source, creator of all that nourishes and sustains:
Soil, trees, fruit. Estuaries, rivers, water to drink.
We pray with gratitude to you, our Creator.
We join our prayers with all Water Protectors and Earth Defenders:

  • For Wisdom, courage, and strength for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and for its Chairman David Archambault and his family;
  • Strength and courage for the Water Protectors and their families;
  • Peace and unity at the camps;
  • The provision of food, water, and shelter and the meeting of other needs for the Water Protectors, particularly those who plan to witness in winter;
  • Wisdom and vision for the people working on the legal battles being fought to halt this pipeline and to honor the sovereignty of Native peoples;
  • Patience and a willingness to rely on nonviolence for the government and corporate authorities involved;
  • Courage for clergy and faith leaders answering the call to join the movement in Standing Rock this week.
  • The leaders of the Presbyterian Church’s Synod of Lakes & Prairies as they collect and discern where to use funds for the camps and the Water Protectors; and
  • All those across the PCUSA as members seek to support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and to confess the church’s participation in the destruction of Indigenous lives and land, to continue the work of reparations and reconciliation.
  • For all who commit to reduce consumption of fossil fuel and live lightly amidst God’s creation.

(petitions above provided in part by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness’ “Action Guide: Support the Standing Rock Sioux #NoDAPL”)

We pray for all nations in conflict and at war.  We pray for deliverance from greed that drives division, that asks too much of the earth and extracts life from communities and ecosystems.

We pray with hope for healing and thanksgiving for joy for all who fill our prayers…

With gratitude we acknowledge, O God, that you are with us, seeking after us, reforming us, changing our hearts, and causing us to grow. Grant us the generosity of spirit to follow your call into this world, to love the brokenness of this world into rejoicing, to stand guard over life until it flows undeterred through this land. Amen

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