Updated: Jul 13
A few years ago I received an interesting question from a Christian friend: since you follow Native spiritual ways and do not go to a church, what do you do?
Since that is not the first time I get asked this I thought I'd share part of my answer here, for those who may wonder the same thing. It was originally posted on my personal Facebook page in July, 2014; words from my heart shared in the hope of promoting mutual understanding and respect.
I go to "church" every day, several times a day. I wake up with a prayer (sometimes even in the middle of the night), then get up and in a special space in my home (or outdoors) I light my sage and copal and offer prayers of gratefulness to Creator (God/Goddess/Source/Higher Power) for a new day of life, for the blessings of family, friends, elders, students, and relations in nature. I send blessings to those with whom I may have a temporary conflict and ask that our relationship be restored to harmony and balance.
I pray before I start any activity whether it's cooking, planting, feeding the birds, foxes, and bears that visit our cabin, counseling someone or doing hands-on healing... and often for the many Facebook friends who I don't know in person but who reach out to me for help.
My church is first and foremost in my heart and does not require a formal structure... My church is also nature because I believe that Creator's (his/her) spark of divinity exists in all things. Even within those beings/people that may appear to be not of "light" -- recognizing that it/they may just need more time than I understand, with my limited human view at this moment, to be able to discern that they also have a part of Creator's fingerprint of light within.
Within my inner church I pray for those who ask me to pray for them. Even those who are not on the same spiritual path as I because I believe that all prayers that are requested and offered with a good heart, and from a place of loving-kindness rather than rigid dogma or spiritual coerciveness gain in strength through the spiritual web of light and energy that connects us to Creator, creation, and to each other.
My church is in my heart and through that connection to Creator I show love and respect to all beings, including Grandfather Sun, Grandmother Moon, and all our relations in nature. I do not worship them. I honor and respect my relationship with them and the profound connection and (inter) dependence that I/we have to Mother Earth for our life.
To me the great Web of Life is also the great church to which we all add our thoughts, emotions, prayers, and which we affect through our actions as we walk our different spiritual paths. May we all arrive at the ultimate destination, our Home within the heart of Creator, with a good heart and a clear mind. Maestra Grace