619 move every human heart that barriers which divide us may crumble, and hatreds cease
Day 619, Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Move every human heart - that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease
Comments by David for the celebration today at Kenwood Community Church:
Kenwood Community Church
9637 Channing Row, Kenwood, CA 95452
Thanks giving is a time to open our eyes to this world and all the many gifts we have received. Being here is a gift for me, a catholic, as we celebrate in a community of people who share faith with each other. It’s fitting that we meet here in this American Gothic-style church, built in 1888 in the heart of Sonoma Valley, - our home that is so rich in natural beauty and abundant in its fertile soil.
This Church Community led by Pastor Hallett was founded by twelve Congregationalist ministers, who wanted to establish a beacon of faith and piety in what was then a small railroad town swarming with land speculators.
Your vision is simple and beautiful:
Everyone is welcome to worship here, whether or not a member
We profess belief in the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit (Creator, Redeemer, Comforter)
We come from a variety of backgrounds; some with no prior church affiliation
We’re an active, lay-led church with abundant opportunities to participate and serve
From St. Patrick's led by Priest Doyle
Where The Way of Love is a way of life.
More than a program or curriculum, it is an intentional commitment to a set of practices. It's a commitment to follow Jesus: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. … and repeat - on a daily basis.
And I love this all-inclusive prayer
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ. Amen.
And Emmaus – certainly the youngest faith community. We formed 14 years ago and have been graciously hosted by the community at St. Patricks during that time. We started because we were tired of a church shaped in the form of a pyramid with men, always men, at the top. We believe that our Baptism empowers us to serve each individual we meet along the road of faith. We hope for a church shaped in the form of a circle that invites everyone in – where no one is outside the circle – where each person, especially women, has a voice and shares her gifts. Where, in the words of this Church community… Everyone is welcome to worship here, whether or not a member
At this Thanksgiving, we thank you for inviting us in. We are united in our circle as a single faith community in a time of hope – hope that Covid will soon be a virus, like smallpox or polio, that we can free ourselves from. We celebrate this Thanksgiving as a community of Christians who share a common belief in the divinity of every person and the presence of our Brother Jesus so that we may say, as those Apostles did on the road to Emmaus – were not our hearts set on fire while he opened the scriptures to us.
And so to the story of that first feast: It was 1621 – 400 years ago in the lands of the Wampanoag tribe and a tiny settlement of Puritans.
The Native Americans had lived in this land for 10,000 years and were a bit like East Coasters of today. They summered at the beach and moved inland for the winters. The sea and land were rich and abundant.
At the same time, Europe was abuzz with news of the New World and the Indians who inhabited vast stretches of forests and coastlines. It was to this New World that the Puritans sailed hoping to establish a purified and perfected community. They were tired too, weary of the wars of religion that has so wracked Europe. They wanted their own place, where they would be free to practice.
Can you imagine then, the meeting of these vastly different cultures? The Puritans in gray and black, the Wampanoags in buckskin and moccasins.
By the fall of their second year, the Pilgrims — thanks in large part to the Wampanoags teaching them how to plant beans and squash in a mound with maize around it and use fish remains as fertilizer — had their first harvest of crops. To celebrate its first success as a colony, the Pilgrims had a “harvest feast” that became the basis for what’s now called Thanksgiving.
There was only 1 problem - the Wampanoags weren’t invited. But when the Puritan men fired their muskets in celebration during the feast, 100 heavily armed braves came running – thinking The Puritans might be under attack. At that point, the Native Americans were invited to stay and provided 5 deer for the feast.
But the divisions in the philosophy of the land were stark and separated the peoples.
The Native Americans could not imagine a world with fences and walls. The Puritans could not imagine a world without them. The believed “good fences make good neighbors” and that felling trees and tilling the soil was part of the Divine plan for subduing the earth.
According to John Locke one of the best known Enlightenment philosophers “God gave the land to the use of the Industrious and Rational. People who have Great Tracts of Land to waste and who own land in common have therefore not joined with the rest of Mankind. A people who do not believe land can be owned by individuals not only cannot contract to sell it, they cannot be said to have a government because government only exists to protect property.
And so the Wampanoags and so many other tribes were forced off their land which "swarmed with land speculators."
Contrast this with words from Native Americans:
We are the land ... that is the fundamental idea embedded in Native American life. The Earth is the mind of the people as we are the mind of the earth. The land is not really the place (separate from ourselves) where we act out the drama of our isolate destinies. It is not a means of survival, a setting for our affairs ... It is rather a part of our being, dynamic, significant, real. It is our self ...
You ask me to plow the ground. Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom? You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it and be rich like white men. But dare I cut off my mother's hair? --Anonymous Native America, circa 1880s
We have a chance today to give thanks, to take a few moments from the turkey and football and the travel and meditate for a few moments. We remember the peoples of the Pomo and Wappo tribes who were moved off this land - our rich and abundant Valley of the Moon. We have a chance to welcome in the that holy and life giving spirit and so move our heart so that barriers that divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease. Together we can create new hope for unity – one human circle in which everyone is loved and cherished.
In the words of a Native American prayer:
Now we turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator. Now our minds are one
And we pray: Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace. Amen.