Tragedy and Wisdom


Gina and. I pray together most mornings. Right now we’re using a resource Gina found. It’s a great format for Morning Prayer, bringing together our Scriptures, the psalms,notable moments from history and some of the wisdom of other spiritual traditions. Here are two of the non-Scripture selections from January 24th, this past Tuesday:

“On January 24, 1848 James Marshall discovered gold in the American River, setting off the California gold rush. Prior to the discovery of this precious metal, one hundred and fifty thousand Native Americans lived in California. White settlers’ search for gold brought with them genocide through both disease and violence. In 1851, the government of California endorsed the extermination of Native people. Offering $5 per head in some places, they invested a total of a million dollars in the systematic extermination men, women and children. By 1870, only an estimated thirty-one thousand California natives had survived.”

Later in the Morning Prayer, after readings from psalm 119, Genesis and Ephesians, are there words from Chief Seattle:

“One thing we know, which the White Man may one day discover- our God is the same God. You may think you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of humanity, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white. The earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. Even the white man cannot be exempt from this common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see.”

-both quoted passages are excerpts from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals*, pages 116-117

*Don’t let the word “radical” throw you off – it’s not very “radical” but much like Morning Prayer in The Book of Common Prayer but with the historical and cultural additions and the historical notes. Maybe “radical” simply refers to the action of beginning the day with prayer and attempting to put our lives at the disposal of God’s will, acknowledging our utter dependence on God’s grace and love… come to think of it, that is pretty radical!

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2 Responses to Tragedy and Wisdom

  1. Pingback: Castaway « Silverwalking

  2. Kathy says:

    Wonderful quotes – thanks for sharing. I will forward this and hope it is read!

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