The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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Gratitude is Powerful: Here are two powerful readings

July 1, 2020
Gratitude is powerful. Some of the greatest prayers, hymns and poems are just giving thanks in the words of many faiths. At a time of frustration, it may be the moment to enjoy the pleasure of giving thanks. It’s accepted that the receiver of gratitude feels happier for the token of appreciation, but the one that gives thanks also gets something back. The thanker, like the one that gives a blessing, gets blessed or thanked themselves. This week’s Words of Connection features two superb expressions of gratitude. One is a version of a Mohawk prayer, the other is a blessing in praise of the earth. Sharing the gratitude of the two authors feels very intimate.
And resonating with the mood of the moment, we have an elegant topical verse, simply entitled ‘Covid Poem.’ It is written by the Catholic writer and poet Laura Kelley Fanucci. Last and by no means least, we have a Buddhist Loving Kindness Meditation, sent to us by Vivian Eliades of Brighton Pebbles Sangha. Thank you Vivien.
And also thanks go to you, our readers, who continually respond and contribute to Words of Connection. Thank you.
Chair IFCG

Gary Snyder (after a Mohawk Prayer)

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day–
and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf
and fine root-hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
freedoms and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave, and aware
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep–he who wakes us–
in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars–and goes yet beyond that–
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us–
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife
so be it.


John O’Donohue

Let us bless
The imagination of the Earth,
That knew early the patience
To harness the mind of time,
Waited for the seas to warm,
Ready to welcome the emergence
Of things dreaming of voyaging
Among the stillness of land.

And how light knew to nurse
The growth until the face of the earth
Brightened beneath a vision of colour.

When the ages of ice came
And sealed the earth inside
An endless coma of cold,
The heart of the earth held hope,
Storing fragments of memory,
Ready for the return of the sun.

Let us thank the earth
That offers ground for home
And holds our feet firm
To walk in space open
To infinite galaxies.

Let us salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed’s self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.

The humility of the earth
That transfigures all
That has fallen
Of outlived growth.

The kindness of the Earth,
Opening to receive
Our worn forms
Into the final stillness.

Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.

Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of the wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.

That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.


Laura Kelley Fanucci


When this is over,
may we never again
take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theatre
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself.

When this ends,
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way–better
for each other
because of the worst.


From the Buddhist Tradition

May I be peaceful, happy and at ease in body and spirit.
May all beings be peaceful, happy and at ease in body and spirit.

May I be safe and protected.
May all beings be safe and protected.

May I learn to regard myself with understanding and love.
May I learn to regard all beings with understanding and love.

May I nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I nourish the seeds of joy in all beings every day.

May I be fresh, solid and free.
May all beings be fresh, solid and free.