Navajo Chaplain Cornelia Eaton to General Convention

Tzo’diziin. Prayer.
November 27, 2012

My mornings in Indianapolis always began with prayerful words of gratitude whispered to God. My prayers were simple. I prayed that God be present in work of the church and that God’s way be done in my first language, Navajo.

Serving as chaplain in the House of Deputies at the 77th General Convention was God’s call. I embraced God’s call as my primary role to share the gospel within the concept of Navajo Spirituality – my identity, as I know Jesus, incarnated, too, among the Navajo culture, tradition, and faith.

General Convention for me was fast paced. I found myself, at times, overwhelmed! I’d receive text messages that read, “Where are you? Be here. Be there. Hurry, the meeting is about to begin!” etc. You get the picture. However, among the busyness, I also found time to talk and get to meet wonderful people along the way. New friendships were formed, tears shared, and laughter to balance – blessed opportunities, I call them. I listened to folks who came from all walks of life tell me their stories, their lives. I was called to listen and pray.

Each day in the House of Deputies, before I offered my Navajo prayers, I began with the words of my medicine elders, “It is by prayer, we walk in the balance. Let us pray.”

When and where did I find my balance amid the life of the General Convention?

Navajo medicine elders have told me that whenever I leave my homeland, the Four Sacred Mountains of Navajoland, I must remember to take along my holy sacraments – corn pollen, four sacred mountain stones, tobacco – offerings to the Creator. They told me that the sacraments will keep me connected to the sacred where my umbilical cord is buried – my roots.

Every morning I offered the holy sacraments with gratitude in my hotel room. My environment was not like home. Whereas at home, when I walk out of my front door the open space greets me – sky, mountains, mesas, trees, all surround me – privileged to breathe in the great wide open.

I have learned and experienced differently in Indianapolis. Communication and relationship with God happens anywhere. Anywhere. They happen even in unfamiliar places. Places that become our home for a certain amount of time. The Creator meets us there, in the midst of the busyness, among the people of God – the church – even in the midst of politics. My balance met me at the podium in the House of Deputies as I offered the Navajo prayers to the church. In that sacred space and time, prayers with the church, with Jesus among us; welcomed the Four Sacred Mountains, Corn Pollen, Sacred Stones, Tobacco all uttered in forms of meditations and prayers of the Holy People.

God balances us anywhere as long as we call on his Holy Presence. With my experience, even in a hand shake, in a smile, in words of gratitude, in tears, in the unknowing, in happiness, in sadness, in hope, God met us in those holy places and the spaces in between. Gratitude.


Navajo Blessing Way Prayer

Jesus Christ, tskh naat’anii
Diyin ‘ayt’i biye’ nilini,
k’ad niyeel ‘shlaa ndh.
Dij niyzh s, dij nitsi s,
T’shididingi nisht’edo,
ni bee haz’1anii bik’ehgo naashadoo,
t’ ‘andishnigi ‘t’edoo, shik’ dind,
Shich’h sizdoo, shich’h dadnihdoo,
Shich’ h1dzihdo.
Tsin lyaad’ shich’ hzhdoo,
ch’il yaad shich’ hzhdoo,
dadich’id shich’ hzhdoo,
dahwtd shich’ hzhdoo,
dahhd’niid shich’ hzhdoo,
T’ shedahtoo’ nahodleedoo,
T’aa shee t1ddn n1hoodeedoo.
Sitsiji hzhdoo,
Shikd hzhdoo
S’aah naagh1i nshdoo,
Bik’eh hzh nshdoo.
Hzh n1h1sd,
Hzh n1h1sd,
Hzh n1h1sd.

Navajo Blessing Way Prayer

Jesus Christ, young man chieftain,
Son of the Most Holy,
Now your smoke offering I have made.
Today your child, your grandchild I am,
Just as you say to me, I will do it.
Your commands I will follow.
Just as I pray, you do it; guard me.
In my defense, stand, reach out,
Plead in my defense.
Let peace come to me from the forest stream,
Let there be peace from the lowly grass,
Let there be peace from the wind’s way,
Let peace come to me from passing rain,
Let passing thunder bring peace to me.
Just by me let the dew fall,
Just by me let corn pollen form.
Beauty before me,
Beauty behind me,
Into fullness of life I have come.
All is whole again,
All is peace again,
All is peace again,
All is whole again.