Home Equipping Leaders Native American Litany from the Grief of the Nations

Litany from the Grief of the Nations

This reading was created by the Reverend Anita Phillips in response to the disaster on September 11, 2001. She was part of a disaster response ministry team sent from the Oklahoma Indiana Missionary Conference who worked with Mohawk recovery workers and others at the Ground Zero site.

This responsive reading combines the words of the psalmists with words of historic Native American leaders. The grief, desolation, and struggle to find comfort are shared across races, cultures, and time. The Scripture references and names of speakers are listed. These references are not intended to be read aloud. Rather, they provide information to deepen the worship experience.

Leader: O Creator God, we bring our hearts and voices together in this time of great trial and suffering, sharing in the prayers and songs of our ancestors.

People: Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress. (Psalm 31:9, NRSV)

Leader: To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, do not refuse to hear me. (Psalm 28:1, NRSV)

People: My heart is sick and sad. (Chief Joseph -- Nez Perce)

Leader: Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not hold your peace at my tears. (Psalm 39:12, NRSV)

People: Weeping, I, the singer, weave my song of flowers of sadness. (Aztec Prayer Song)

Leader: My heart is stricken and withered like grass. (Psalm 102.4)

People: Hear me in my sorrow. (Black Elk -- Oglala Lakota)

Leader: Insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. (Psalm 69:20, NRSV)

People: Is there anyone who would weep for me? (Ojibwa Battle Song)

Leader: The snares of death encompassed me … I suffered distress and anguish. (Psalm 116:3, NRSV)

People: Many have died of diseases we have no name for. (Little Wolf -- Cheyenne)

Leader: Will you, friend, explain to me that which I cannot understand? (Lololoma -- Hopi)

People: Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices. (Psalm 37:7, NRSV)

Leader: In your steadfast love hear my voice; O Lord, in your justice preserve my life. (Psalm 119:149, NRSV)

People: We must be united; we must smoke the same pipe; we must fight each others' battles; and; more than all, we must love the Great Spirit … (Tecumseh -- Shawnee/Muscogee)

Leader: When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like those who dream. (Psalm 126:1, NRSV)

People: And we sang our prayer song: You cannot harm me. You cannot harm one who has dreamed a dream like mine. (Dakota Prayer Song)

Leader: Forget not … that we are bound together in peace. (Pusmataha -- Choctaw)

People: The Great Spirit and giver of light, who has made the earth and everything therein, has brought us all together this day for our mutual good to promote the good works of peace. (Pontiac -- Ottawa)

Leader: The contrary winds may blow strong in my face, yet I will go forward and never turn back. (Teedyuscung -- Delaware)

People: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1, NRSV)

Leader: The Great Spirit has placed us all on this earth. (Kaqnakuk -- Kickapoo)

People: Listen, that the peace may continue unto the future days! Always listen to the words of the Great Creator … (The Peacemaker -- Lenape)

All: Amen.

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Native Time by Lee Francis (St. Martin's Press, 1998)

Copyright 2002, New World Outlook.Used by permission.

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