On September 12, despite cold, wind and rain, about 25 people from across West Virginia showed up for the Ground Beneath Our Hearts, held at a picnic shelter in Kanawha State Forest. They came to honor and heal the people and places we love.
As people entered the picnic shelter, they noticed a prayer cloth catching the wind. Each person chose a length of colorful ribbon and a marker, then set about transcribing their prayers, wishes, hopes and favorite quotes onto the ribbons. Once their hopes and prayers — related to their connection to the earth, water, air, soil, and for unity — adorned the ribbons, people pinned the ribbons to the prayer cloth. The ribbons fluttered throughout the remainder of the event, as people sang and spoke of their love of and connection to our beautiful state.
Days later, the prayer cloth traveled with me to Montreat, NC for the September 15-18 Presbyterians for Earth Care conference. This conference, held once every two years, gathers Presbyterians from all across the country who are concerned about environmental injustice and who work to address ecological problems in their home areas. Conference participants added prayers and meditative thoughts onto the prayer cloth with slips of paper, so that the cloth now rustles whenever it moves.
The prayer cloth and prayers created a powerful connection of like-minded, spiritual individuals.
The cloth’s home will be the newly remodeled OVEC office, but it can journey to your community if you are planning similar events. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-522-0246.
Read the prayers and thoughts so far collected on the ribbons and paper adorning the prayer cloth here:
To these ancient hills: thanks for absorbing so much pain, so many tears, so much goodness – healing Peace, Harmony, Unity – WE ARE ONE…
May all beings be free of suffering – may all beings find peace
Bless all those whose heart is tender with love and care for the earth, which sustains us… and open the eyes and hearts of the ones who abuse our land.
Open hearts [heart] Open minds [heart] Compassion
“Everything that lives breathes God’s praise.” Bless all that God has made (all!) (My prayers for health of all that breathing!
Give us new eyes, a new name, Spirit to Heal, Hands, Heart & Mind to Work, Create Love to all for all from the Heart… and the Earth re-newed
Prayers for God’s mountain tops, tidal creeks, well water
We pray for guidance we need to protect rights of all users, human & aquatic to use water at no cost
I pray for clean water and unity for all. May it be so.
Water earth unity – They embrace me thru the woods. It is where I go in joy & disappointment to hear their music
[in a native language] translated (?) Grandfather, Great Mystery – We are all related. It is so.
Prayers for light… that our Mother Earth is in danger — hope and move forward peace… peace, peace + justice
My prayer is for the healing of our waters and for wise preservation of still pristine streams.
May the trees of the fields clap their hands.
Heal the face of the earth, oh God
We inherited this beauty from our ancestors – we leave it to our great, great grandchildren
When we close our eyes and see the beauty that those before us have, knowing were mountains once stood still. Feel the energy, let it consume your belly and know that there is always love.
Water is life. Tree roots are umbilical cords. The same for all vegetation. We depend on this for life. We must preserve. Lord, help us.
Dear Lord: Please help us take care of your creation!
May water stay pure and nourish us.
Let humans understand the… need of water for existence!
May we open ourselves one to another to the eternal creativity that is in us, around us, and beyond us.
May our efforts be like the constant flow of water that caresses the earth with flowing presence.
With steadfastness faithfully wearing down the world’s resistance to our wholeness.
Water represents the flow and continuity of life.
As I prepare for the Days of awe of the High Holy Days may I remain accountable for tikuun alam – the Healing of the world.
Holy God help us protect and restore your creation of water and make us better stewards of your creation – Lord, hear our pleas.
Lord, give us wisdom to recognize that ALL Your creation has value.
Restore the land, air, & water
Running water = renewal for me. I thank God for this renewal