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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

Day 251 Nov 22 Taize Sunday: An eternally inexhaustible earth and a forever lasting peace

Sunday November 22nd, 2020: A Taize Thanksgiving

Please remember to join us on ZOOM at 4:45 Today:

Sunday November 22nd. 2020.

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Passcode: 1234

Meeting ID: 519 315 8573

Liturgy of the Word

JoAnn rings the singing bell and welcomes the community and new members

Play music







For me Thanksgiving has always been intimately connected to the story of that first Thanksgiving when Indians and Pilgrims came together to prepare and celebrate a meal to give thanks together for a bountiful harvest - a beautiful story of two very different cultures coming together in mutual respect and appreciation to share a meal. It is tragic beyond belief that, as far as we know, that never happened again. In fact, some have even questioned whether it ever REALLY happened at all.

I (along with probably most of the Emmaus community) am not particularly fond of “penitential rites” beating our breasts, “Lord, have mercy on us” “Me culpa, mea culpa, mea MAXIMA culpa” but before we can meaningfully celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I think we need to spend at least a little time “in sackcloth and ashes” sitting quietly with the enormity of what we have done to native American communities over the last 200 years. To help us in this endeavor I invite you to listen with open hearts to words from A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES by Howard Zinn and THE HEARTBEAT OF WOUNDED KNEE by the young Native American author David Treuer. Most of the readings will be accompanied by music from Taize so that the readings can touch our hearts more deeply.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus begged his disciples to “stay awake and pray”. He tells us the same thing this Thanksgiving: stay awake, recognize what you have done to Native Americans over the last 200 years, resolve to figure out some way to reach out and make amends to these communities that scientists and anthropologists tell us, have probably lived here for 25,000 years (23,000 years BC!)


UBI CARITAS, and NADA TE TURBE (background music for the following readings)

Columbus and his successors were not coming into an empty wilderness, but into a world which in some places was as densely populated as Europe itself, where the culture was complex, where human relations were more egalitarian than in Europe, and where the relations among men, women, children, and nature were more beautifully worked out than perhaps in any other place in the world. [Zinn 21]

They were people without a written language, but with their own laws, their poetry, their history kept in memory and passed on, in an oral vocabulary more complex than Europe’s AND accompanied by song, dance, and ceremonial drama. They paid careful attention to the development of personality..., independence and flexibility..., to their partnership with one another and with nature. [Zinn 21]

John Collier, an American scholar who lived among Indians in the 1920s and 1930s in the American Southwest, said of their spirit: “could we make it our own, there would be an eternally inexhaustible earth and a forever lasting peace.“ [Zinn 22]

Perhaps there is some romantic mythology in that. But the evidence from European travelers in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries,... is overwhelmingly supportive of much of that “ myth“. Even allowing for the imperfection of myths, it is enough to make us question, for that time and ours, the excuse of progress in the annihilation of races, {Zinn 22]

In the villages of the Iroquois (ee-ruh-kwaa) land was owned in common and worked in common. Hunting was done together, and the catch was divided among the members of the village. Houses were considered common property and were shared by several families. The concept of private ownership of land and homes was foreign to the Iroquois. A French Jesuit who encountered them in the 1650s wrote “no poor houses are needed among them because ..their kindness, humanity and courtesy not only makes them liberal with what they have, but causes them to possess hardly anything except in common.[Zinn 20]

Women were important and respected in Iroquois society. Families were matrilineal. That is, the family line went down through the female members, whose husbands joined the family, while sons who married then joined their wives families. Each extended family lived in a “long house“. When a woman wanted a divorce, she simply laid her husband‘s things outside the door.[Zinn 20]

Families were grouped in clans, and a dozen or more clans might make up a village. The senior women in the village picked the men who represented the clans at village and tribal councils. The senior women also picked the 49 chiefs who were the ruling council for the Five Nation confederacy of the Iroquois. The women attended clan meetings, stood behind the circle of men who spoke and voted, and removed the men from office if they strayed too far from the wishes of the women. [Zinn 20]

The women tended the crops and took general charge of Village affairs while the men were always hunting or fishing. And since they supplied the moccasins and food for warring expeditions, the women did have some control even over military matters...The power was shared between the sexes and the European idea of male dominance and female subordination in all things was conspicuously absent in Iroquois society.[Zinn 20]

Children in Iroquois society, while taught the cultural heritage of their people and solidarity with the tribe, were also taught to be independent, not to submit to overbearing authority. They were taught equality in status and the sharing of positions. The Iroquois did not use harsh punishment on children, they did not insist on early weaning or early toilet training, but gradually allowed the child to learn self-care. [Zinn 20]

All of this was in sharp contrast to European values as brought over by the first colonists, a society of rich and poor, controlled by priests, by governors, by male heads of families. For example, As John Robinson (pastor of the pilgrim colony,) advised his parishioners how to deal with their children: “Surely there is in all children... a stubbornness and stoutness of mind arising from natural pride, which must, in the first place, be broken and beaten down, so that the foundation of their education being laid in humility and tractableness, other virtues may, in their time, be built thereon.” [Zinn 20]

HOW LONG O GOD, STAY WITH ME, WHERE IS YOUR MERCY NOW?, O LORD HEAR MY PRAYER As background music for the following readings)

When Columbus and his men first arrived in the New World they were met by the Arawak Indians who swam out to greet them. The Arawaks lived in Village communes, had a developed agriculture of corn, yams and cassava. They could spin and weave, but they had no horses or work animals. They had no iron, but they wore tiny gold ornaments in their ears.

This was to have enormous consequences: it led Columbus to take some of them aboard ship as prisoners because he insisted that they guide him to the source of the gold...He then sailed to what is now Cuba, then to the island which today consist of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. There, bits of visible gold in the rivers, and a gold mask presented to Columbus by a local Indian chief, led to wild visions of gold fields.

In his report to Spain Columbus concluded by asking for a little help from their majesty‘s, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage “as much gold as they need… And as many slaves as they ask.“ He was full of religious talk: “Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow his way over apparent impossibilities.“

Because of Columbus’s exaggerated report and promises, his second expedition was given 17 ships and more than 1200 men. The aim was clear: slaves and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indian captives. But as word spread of the Europeans intent they found more and more empty villages...

Now from his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend. In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up 1500 Arawak men, women and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the 500 best specimens to load onto ships. Of those 500, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were “naked as the day they were born“ they showed “no more embarrassment than animals“. Columbus later wrote “let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all of the slaves that can be sold.“

But too many of the slaves died in captivity. And so Columbus, desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested had to make good his promise to fill the ships with gold....

The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were killed.

Trying to put together an army of resistance the Arawaks faced Spaniards who had armor, muskets, swords and horses. When the Spaniards took prisoners they hanged them or burned them to death. Among the Arawaks mass suicides began, with cassava poison. Infants were killed to save them from the Spaniards. In two years through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead.

These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable... for their hospitality and their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was... by the frenzy for money that marked western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus.

As the Pilgrims and other settlers flooded into New England, the tribes (and some of the settlers) really did try to forge alliances and understandings that would benefit them all. But white siupremecy doomed these efforts to dramatic and catastrophic failure. In the 1630s when Indian populations had rebounded to some extent, the Pequot Indians launched an all out war. But that war was absolutely crushed by the pilgrims, [Truer p42]

The English had developed a tactic of warfare used earlier by Cortez and later, in the 20th century, even more systematically: namely deliberate attacks on non-combatants for the purpose of terrorizing the enemy... Captain John Mason proposed to avoid attacking Pequot warriors which would’ve overtaxed his unseasoned, unreliable troops. Battle, as such, was not his purpose. Battle is only one of the ways to destroy your enemies’ will to fight. Massacre can accomplish the same and with less risk, and Mason determined that massacre would be his objective.“ [Zinn 15]

So the English set fire to the wigwams of the village. By their own account: “the captain... said, we must burn them; and immediately stepping into the wigwam… Brought out a firebrand, and putting it into the mats with which they were covered, set the wigwams on fire.”

”Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword, some hewed to pieces, others run through with rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatched very few escaped...They destroyed about 400 at that time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fryer, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and stench thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.” [Zinn 15]

And the remaining Pequot were sold into slavery. John Mason wrote that God (quote) “laughed his enemies and the enemies of his people to scorn making The Pequot as a fiery oven... Thus did the Lord judge among the heathen, filling the fort with dead bodies.“ The Pequot were exterminated not only from the land but from memory: uttering the tribes very name was forbidden. [Treuer 42]

By 1890, all Indian lands in coastal New England had long since been expropriated, and most remaining Indians had been assimilated into other tribes, relocated, or exterminated. Most but not all. Some tribes made peace and endured. As in the southeast, even total war had not yielded total extermination. Indians remained. [Treuer p42]

In 1924 Congress finally granted US citizenship to the indigenous peoples of this land.. Despite the passage of that act, however, many Native Americans living on reservations continued to be excluded from the democratic process. In 1948, Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona successfully litigated their right to vote. Utah and North Dakota became the last states to afford on-reservation Native Americans the right to vote in1958. Once the right to vote was finally secured, however, voter suppression laws kept Native Americans from voting and seeking elected office. In Arizona, for example, Native Americans could not fully participate in voting until 1970 when the Supreme Court upheld the ban against using literacy tests. Today, the right to vote continues to be challenged through the passage of new laws and practices that either fail to consider, disregard, or intentionally target Native American voters.

Just 2 years ago, In early October 2018, just before the midterm election, the Supreme Court chose to stand by and allow the war against voting to continue. Just a little less than a month before a midterm election that determined control of Congress, the court decided not to block North Dakota’s restrictive voter ID law, which will make it harder for people in that state to cast their ballots.

The voter ID law had been introduced just months after Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, eked out a narrow upset victory in 2012, winning by less than 3,000 votes. Republican lawmakers responded by passing restrictive voter ID legislation that all but guaranteed that large numbers of Native Americans — who tend to vote Democratic — wouldn’t be able to participate in the political process. Specifically, the law requires voters to bring to the polls an ID that displays a “current residential street address” or other supplemental documentation that provides proof of such an address.

This may seem like an innocuous requirement, but in practice, it’s likely to disenfranchise thousands of Native Americans, many of whom live on reservations in rural areas and don’t have street addresses. Since the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t provide residential mail delivery in remote areas, many members of North Dakota’s Native American tribes list their mailing addresses, like P.O. boxes, on their IDs. And some also don’t have supplemental documentation, like a utility bill or bank statement, because of homelessness or poverty. Now, because the Supreme Court refused to block the law, people who show up at their polling station with a P.O. box on their ID will be turned away.

The Native American Rights Fund sued North Dakota in early 2016, arguing that the law was unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act. A federal district judge agreed, issuing a ruling in April that blocked the ID requirement, but the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned that ruling in a 2-1 decision in September. The Supreme Court’s denial of the Native American Rights Fund’s emergency appeal means that the law will stand, creating a huge amount of confusion for thousands of voters whose IDs were valid for the June primaries but are no longer adequate for them to vote on Nov. 6.

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pointed out exactly what’s at stake for North Dakota — 70,000 residents of the state lack an ID that qualifies under the new rules. That’s nearly 20 percent of the typical turnout for a midterm election. The ruling, Ginsburg said, “may lead to voters finding out at the polling place that they cannot vote because their formerly valid ID is now insufficient.”

In an election that may wind up being decided by just a few thousand votes, the court’s decision could be deeply consequential for the country, not just those who live in North Dakota.

Last year Congress DID try to correct many of these injustices when it introduced the Native American Voting Rights Act of 2019 (H.R. 1694; S. 739) It was also introduced in the Judiciary committee of the senate but as far as I can tell it has still not come up to the full senate for a vote.

So ends the readings for today.


Is there anyway you can reach out and make amends to Native Americans? Have you ever met a Native American? Has anything come up for you this evening that touched you in a way that seemed new or different?


What do we bring to the table? People say who they want to remember today after which JoAnn says:

Spotlight -> Joann

JoAnn: Let us take all these concerns that we have heard, take them to our hearts, and give them to the Spirit who hears us.

Offertory song begins immediately.

OFFERTORY: O Lord Hear My Prayer

O Lord, hear my prayer (2x) When I call, answer me.

O Lord, hear my prayer (2x) Come and listen to me.




















- From Robert Smith, USA/Jerusalem

JoAnn: God is with you.

ALL: And also with you.

JoAnn: Lift up your hearts

ALL: We lift them to God.

JoAnn: Let us give thanks to the Lord Our God

ALL: It is right to give God thanks and praise.

PREFACE (JoAnn): In the blessed abundance of creation, we gather to celebrate the nourishing gift of life. We gather in the power of the Spirit whose breath inspires the primal waters, calling into being the variety and abundance we see around us.

That same Spirit sustains and animates our every endeavor

Inviting us to act in wisdom and in truth.

In gratitude and joy we embrace our calling and we lift our voices

To proclaim as one the ancient song of praise:

Sanctus (Siakudumisa) Please join Jim with your mutes on!

Holy, Holy, Holy!

God within us all!

Heaven and earth are

filled with your glory

Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are all who come

To bring us to fullness of life.

Blessed are they! Blessed are we!

Hosanna in the highest!

Eucharistic Prayer:

JoAnn: In him we see your presence challenging us to make your reign on earth more visible. We remember the night before he died, when he took bread, gave you thanks for

everything he had, broke the bread and shared it with his friends asking them to

remember his total surrender to you and his enduring love for each of them.

All: This is my body, given for you.

JoAnn: Likewise, knowing his life was to be poured out, he shared the cup of wine with them.

All: This is my blood shed for you. A covenant of love.


Jesus of Nazareth has died

Jesus the Christ is risen

Jesus the Christ is here with us now and till the end of time!

JoAnn: We thank you that we have gathered here as the body of Christ;

we rejoice in the giftedness of each person here;

we are grateful for who we are for each other.

We consider ourselves blessed in and by you.

May we be truly eucharistic in all we do.


Thru Christ, with Christ, in Christ

in union with the Holy Spirit

All glory is yours, Creator of all. Amen Siakudumisa. (3X)

Amen Bawo (2x) (Amen! Father!)

Amen Siakudumisa! (Amen! Praise God)

JoAnn: Let’s pray now as Jesus taught us:

Our Mother, Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kindom come,

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread and forgivs our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

For thine is the kindom, the power and the glory forever. Amen.


The first peace, which is the most important,

Is that which comes within the souls of people

When they realize their relationship,

Their oneness, with the universe and all its powers;

And when they realize that at the center of the universe

Dwells Wakan-Tanka (the Great Spirit),

And that this center is really everywhere,

It is within each of us.

This is the real peace,

And the others are but reflections of this.

The second peace is that which is made between two individuals.

The third is that which is made between two nations.

But above all you should understand

That there can never be peace between nations

Until there is known that true peace

Which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men. - Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

Invitation to the table:

JoAnn: The table has been prepared as Jesus requested and we are invited to the meal.

All: Come to the table.

JoAnn: Like Peter with more enthusiasm than resolve; like James and John, dismayed by the priorities of God’s reign.

All: Come to the table.

JoAnn: Like Martha, hosting and leading with confidence; like Mary, full of love and grief.

All: Come to the table.

JoAnn: Like Judas, disillusioned and rebellious; like Mary Magdalene, faithful to the end.

All: Come to the table.

JoAnn: Jesus offers the bread and the cup.

All: Come to the table of Christ.


Eat this bread, drink this cup. Come to me and never be hungry.,

Eat this bread, drink this cup. Trust in me and you will not thirst.


ALL: Look with mercy, gracious God,

Upon people everywhere

Who live with injustice, terror, disease and death

As their constant companions.

Rouse us from our complacency

And help us to eliminate cruelty wherever it is found.

Strengthen those who seek equality for all.

Grant that everyone may enjoy a fair portion of the abundance of the earth;

Through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

(-from Evangelical Lutheran Worship p 79)

Jim speaks


Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ! Yesterday, Today and Forever!

FINAL BLESSING: Emmaus Road Blessing

(by Victoria MacDonald)

Holy One, shower your blessings upon

us, in this year, 2020,

which has sharpened

our vision, as we have walked together

toward Emmaus.

Little did we know

what might be asked

of us along the way;

how much we might

lose, or how many good-bye heartbreaks

would be required of us all.

Trudging along the dusty road

toward Emmaus,

we now realize that

we are the road itself;

dust, and dirt, and pebbles that

form the pathway for justice

to be revealed through us;

that Christ walks this road

through our fragile footprints.

Prophets, old and new, are found and

formed, with each step we take,

however insignificant.

Too often thinking ourselves alone, we

have looked to see in sharp relief,

the foundations of inequity, upon which

we have stood for so long, but now,

no more!

Today our 2020 vision,

redeemed and reconfiguring,

fuels our multitude of hearts,

to pour forth new visions of a just world.

Today, the road we walk together

to Emmaus, creates the way

for love and justice to walk with us...

toward home.

And the people of our beloved

Emmaus Community, say... Amen!



Now in peace, O God, let your servant go, Alleluia! Alleluia!

For my eyes have seen Your salvation! Alleluia! Alleluia!


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