Michael Mulberry sends on word of this action and this liturgy. Please think of them today and send your prayers. Continue in prayers for the ongoing witness of Standing Rock.
We are going to do this action on Monday, October 10, known to white imperialists like myself as Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples’ Day. J
… provide some context. Native people are leading the way on this event. Before we do our water blessing, there will be a Native blessing that will probably take close to an hour. (I’m hoping we will be about 15 minutes.) Then we will march to downtown Billings where the Wells Fargo building is. Again, before our little ritual, Native people will smudge (sage for purification and sweet grass for blessing) each corner of the building. We will then move to the courthouse lawn where we read the Bozeman ordinance on Indigenous Peoples’ Day hoping to get a movement to have it changed in Billings.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Michael S. Mulberry
Billings First Church (UCC)
Indigenous peoples’ day liturgy at Coulson Park
One: (scooping up water) Let us pray. Our story begins with your Spirt hovering over the water. Before you even spoke anything into being, water was present. From water you called forth all of life—even the creatures that walk the earth. Water is life. Do not let us abandon this sacred story for something more fleeting and transient. Join with us today, Maker of All Things, to remember, pray, march, and act with courage. We give you thanks for this water you have given as sacred trust. May we not abandon you. Amen.
Two: As we are learning, oil is the seductive charmer that leads us to believe that we can extract and exploit from God’s good earth, from each other, and bring life. Oil sweetly whispers in our ear false wisdom. Oil is the product of long deceased organisms—dead for millions and millions of years. Dredged up, burnt, death in the form of asthma in the lungs of our children. Death in the oceans in the form of oil spills. Death in the skies in the form of climate chaos. Oil is death.
One & Two: So let us say it together: Water is life. Oil is death. Water is life. Oil is death.
Three: (drawing a land between water and soil) From chaos, God draws boundaries: night from day, water of the earth from water held in the sky, earth from sky, sea from dry land. Boundaries are intentional, necessary, and purposeful for life and healthy and growth to occur. The balance of ecosystems is established through good boundaries.
Four: Creative purpose is found in good and proper boundaries. Today we affirm that good boundaries have not been kept. Profit and pipeline have been preferred over people. Production and consumption cannot be the sole path. Oil should not threaten the necessary boundary of life-giving water.
Five: We say, “This is not the way of the Maker of All Things. The Creator of the Universe has a different way, a different path, a different order to the earth.”
Three, Four, & Five: So let us say it together. Water is life. Oil is death. Water is life. Oil is death.
Six: (dipping escallop shell in water) In Christian tradition, we use the escallop shell as a way of saying that the Maker of All Things has ordained creation through baptism that we be connected to all things: plant, animal, earth, and water.
Seven: Water is life. It purifies, quenches, cleans, brings about renewal and transformation. Through baptism, water dissolves all of our differences so that we might know our common ancestry in a loving Creator. In prayer and solidarity, we are one with the people of Standing Rock.
Eight: We are a people made from fertile soil, Divine Breath, born out of life-giving water.
So that all tribes and nations might know God’s intent for our full joy in one another.
Nine: Let us pray. We know, Creator of the Universe, that what happens at Sacred Stone Camp, among the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota of Standing Rock, happens to us. We belong to each other. We covenant with you today to say that death will not overtake our sisters and brothers. Bind us together in baptismal covenant. You have made us one. Do not let stories of greed and corruption separate us. Amen.
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine: So let us say it together. Water is life. Oil is death. Water is life. Oil is death.
Ten: May this water of the Elk River reminds us of our baptisms so that we may affirm sacred covenant, our common ancestry, necessary boundaries, and that water is life. Amen!
(All affirm baptism through evergreen boughs)
Indigenous peoples’ day liturgy at Wells Fargo Bank
Using sage and sweetgrass, smudging is done at all four corners of the Wells Fargo building.
One: Funding the Dakota Access Pipeline are several banks, Wells Fargo among them. If it is true, that corporations are people capable of free speech, then even more so, they have an obligation to act as good neighbors in our community and good citizens in our country.
Two: Wells Fargo has not done so in the support of this pipeline. Rather, they have not known their own good boundaries. They open the way for evil.
Three: Today we say, “No more!”
Four: No more profits over people! (Response: No more!)
Five: No more pipelines over homeland prosperity! (Resonse: No more!)
Six: No more tipping the scales of justice so that Mother Earth is despoiled! (Response: No more!”)
Seven: No more robbing our Native sisters and brothers of their sovereign rights! (Response: No more!)
Eight: No more. Today we draw a boundary around the practices that Wells Fargo does so that they are restrained from the practice of injustice and evil. The Living God calls you to be neighbor and citizen.
Nine: Let us pray. No more. God of Justice, transform their hearts so that they might know they also belong to us. Though they may try, we say that by your name any evil they do shall bring consequences to them until your justice is secured, maintained, and becomes like rolling water, like an everflowing stream. This shall be sealed. This shall be done. Today, O God, bind Wells Fargo with boundaries and consequences. Let the people gathered say, “No more!” and “Amen