The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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A Moment of Encouragement, Peace and Prayer

July 22, 2020

We are still in need a little optimism, and so we open our latest Words of Connection with a delightful offering from the Irish poet Derek Mahon. It is so apt for the moment, although it was written around 10 years ago. We follow this with a traditional Irish blessing, reminding us of the poetic spirit and word skills that come from Ireland.

Our third reading is from Atharva Veda, which came into being between around 1200 BC. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the Vedas are the oldest scripture of Hinduism. It is a powerful invocation for peace.

The fourth reading comes from Larry Dossey’s intriguing book entitled “Prayer is Good Medicine”. A doctor with many years of researching and writing about the therapeutic value of prayer, this little extract expresses his own personal views about prayer. It is quite likely you may not agree with him, but it is always intriguing to read views on such matters.

Stay well and enjoy the readings

Chair IFCG

Derek Mahon

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.



May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within. May the blessed sunshine shine on you and warm your heart till it glows like a peat fire, so that a stranger may come and warm himself at it, and also a friend.
And may the light shine out of the two eyes of you, like a candle set in the two windows of the house, bidding a wanderer come in out of the storm; and may the blessings of the rain be on you – the soft, sweet rain. May it fall upon your spirits so that all the little flowers may spring up and shed their sweetness on the air. And may the blessings of the great rains be on you, may they beat upon your spirit and wash it fair and clean, and leave many a shining pool where the blue of heaven shines, and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the Earth be on you – the great round Earth; may you ever have a kindly greeting for those you pass as you go along the roads. May the Earth be soft under you when you rest upon it, tired at the end of the day, and may it rest easy over you when at the last, you lay under it; may it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be off from under it quickly – up and off, and on its way to God. And now may the Lord bless you all and bless you kindly.



Peace be to earth and to airy space!
Peace be to heaven, peace to the waters,
Peace to the plant and peace to the trees,
May all the powers grant me peace.
By this invocation of peace may peace be diffused!
By this invocation of peace may peace bring peace!
With this peace the dreadful I now appease,

With this peace the cruel I now appease,
With this peace all evil I now appease,

So that peace may prevail, happiness prevail!
May everything for us be peaceful.


Larry Dossey

In its simplest form, prayer is an attitude of the heart – a matter of being, not doing. Prayer is the desire to contact the Absolute, however it may be conceived. When we experience the need to enact this connection, we are praying, whether or not we use words.

That doesn’t mean the words are wrong. People are often inspired to express verbally their unity with God, Goddess, the Divine, the Universe, the Absolute in some way – to lift their voices in words or song. If we need to use words, we should use them. But the essence of prayer is not something you say on Sunday morning, before meals, or at bedtime. The essence of prayer bypasses all the “Our Fathers” and “Hail Marys” and goes beyond all the thees and thous.