The Common Good

A Public Prayer of Thanksgiving

This historic proclamation of "A Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer" was supposedly issued by George Washington during his first year as President. In keeping with that tradition, I offer a simple prayer:

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Great Mystery, I am humbled that I will never know everything about you, but I am grateful that through the lives of the other I can know more of you. I thank you for those who are like me, but I especially thank you for those who are different than me. I thank you for those who are younger than me and those older than me; for those who have less than me and those who have more than me; for those more physically able than me and those less physically able than me; for those whose skin is of a lighter hue than me and those of a darker hue than me; for those of the opposite sex as me and those of the same sex as me; for those of a different worldview than me and those with a similar worldview as me.

Please help me to discard the old American Myth built on falsehood and justification of racism, sexism, individualism, materialism, greed, and an abuse of your good earth. These and other lies have kept systems of oppression in place-systems that you hate but I sometimes grow comfortable with. May we together discover a new story for our country where everyone has an equal voice-even those with whom we disagree and even with those who have no voice.

I am thankful for this place we indigenous people sometimes call Turtle Island and others call America. I am thankful that it is becoming a place where freedom can take hold and it is becoming a place where one day we will all be equal under the law, under the prevailing social structures, and in our own minds.

And I thank you for the land itself; may you work through us to revive it to your most beautiful intentions. May we work together to purify the land and live with it as well as on it. May all of your creatures, the four-legged, the flying things, the crawling things, and the two-legged creatures all be able to afford a home on your land. May we make the water sacred once again, the first medicine that provides life to all your creation. May it not be comodified so as to keep it out of the reaches of any of your creatures, and may it be kept in a way that shows the respect for it that you gave it when you made the water such an important part of this earth.

As I look around this circle we call mother earth, I am thankful to you that it is a sacred circle and in the circle no one is more, nor less, than the other. As I look around the sacred circle, I see that I am related to all your creation and that each one in the circle is as sacred as me. You have given us all stories to tell but in all our stories we find you. It is the you in the other that I most value Great Mystery. Please teach me about myself in this sacred circle so I may know you and reflect you more on this good earth. Thank you

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