Prayer for Peace and Justice: Recognizing Earth Day and the Georgetown Environment Initiative

On Tuesday, April 17, we welcomed the Georgetown Environment Initiative as the special guest for our weekly Chaplains’ Tea. Following the tea at our Prayer for Peace and Justice, our Managing Director Aaron Johnson shared a prayer and a poem by Nathalie Handal in honor of our guests and Earth Day.

John Muir, Our National Parks: “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”

Stella Lake, Great Basin National Park. Photo by James Marvin Phelps.


Accepting Heaven at Great Basin
By Nathalie Handal

When you doubt the world, look at the undivided darkness
look at Wheeler Peak, cliffs like suspended prayers

contemplate the cerulean, the gleaming limestone
the frozen shades, the wildflowers

look at the bristlecone pine, a labyrinth to winding wonders
listen to the caves, sing silently

remember the smell of sagebrush, after a thunderstorm
that Lexington Arch, is a bridge of questions

in the solitude of dreams, that here
distances disturb desire, to deliver a collision of breaths

the desert echoes, in this dark night sky
stars reveal the way, a heart can light a world.


Copyright © 2016 by Nathalie Handal. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 25, 2016, this poem was commissioned by the Academy of American Poets and funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Imagine Your Parks grant.


So we pray: Guiding light, lead us into those places of wonder in our world; help us to find
those hallowed and untamed spaces that reveal to us the truth — of our vulnerability and
our interdependence as living things, together; guide us we pray into a deeper
understanding of what it means to belong. Amen