The following prayer was read at the Dec. 4, 2016, service in support of the Water Protectors of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and our sister congregation in Bismarck, North Dakota.
PRAYER FOR STANDING ROCK
Spirit of Life, Mother Earth, with deep respect on this Interfaith Day of Prayer, we lift our hearts towards the Indigenous peoples gathered at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. We honor them for more fully awakening us to the environmental injustices that are deeply experienced by indigenous peoples around the world . We thank them for making these injustices visible right on our nation’s doorstep.
We rejoice that hundreds of the years of shameful oppression of the First Nations has not destroyed the spiritual bonds that link these peoples to Earth and all her beings. Through our own Unitarian Universalist respect for the interdependent web, we feel a deep spiritual kinship with the people of Standing Rock, and we honor them as our teachers. We are thankful for the lesson they bring, teaching us that reverence is a powerful form of resistance. Reverence for water is resisting the path of corporate profit that pays no heed to the well being of the living systems of Earth.
As winter comes, we pray for the safety and continued peaceful stance of the thousands living in tents, tepees, and yurts in the Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone camps and for thousands who come and go as allies – indigenous leaders from around the world, UN observers, lay people and clergy, including, today, hundreds of Unitarian Universalists; and for the 2000 or more veterans who are gathering tomorrow to stand in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock and to witness against an inappropriately militarized law enforcement presence.
We pray, as well, for the safety of members of the law enforcement agencies. We pray that individual officers will not be put into positions that contravene their own hearts, that these officers will choose to de-escalate potentially violent situations and fellow officers that turn toward violence, and that they will look into the eyes of the Water Protectors and see them as brothers and sisters with rights equal to their own.
We end our prayer with gratitude for water, for each cup we pour, each free-flowing tap we open, each stream we cross, each raindrop or snowflake that falls upon us. We pray that at Standing Rock on the banks of the Missouri River and everywhere that water flows on Earth, it will now and always runs clear and clean. We pray that we, too, from today forward we will have the love and resolve to protect water always. Mni Wiconi. Water is Life. Amen.