Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We Share Thankfulness

Last night Mr. Spherical Model and I attended a Thanksgiving Service, the 5th annual such service offered by a local interfaith clergy association for the whole community. The three main faith groups presented the program: Christian, Muslim, and Jewish, expressing their views on giving thanks, through spoken word and music. 

Community members mingle following
interfaith Thanksgiving Service
The Muslim representative shared his religion’s view that we should begin everything we do by offering thanks to God. This is a belief all our religions share, so it is a bond between us. 

A Methodist pastor retold the story of the Good Samaritan, and reminded us that we are each others’ neighbors. We can be grateful to share this community with people of various faiths. We don’t just cohabitate, but we come to care for one another; we are neighborly. And he’s right; unlike other parts of the world where that neighborliness is lacking, it is a blessing in our little part of Texas. 

A Jewish rabbi talked about the Jewish practice of recognizing and giving thanks for “the miracles of every day”: opening our eyes in the morning, finding firm ground, having clothes, being free. These blessings teach that our very lives are miracles.  

If there was a theme to the evening, it was that each of our faith traditions leads us to thankfulness to God in all things. This was also brought out in the music. Words from the Q’uran were chanted, meaning, “If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more,” and “My Lord, bestow on us the ability to be grateful.” Two young girls, sisters, from the host Mormon congregation, sang a song of gratefulness for family harmony, “There is beauty all around when there’s love at home.” And another Jewish rabbi sang from Psalm 92, “To sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.” 

I especially enjoyed the words of the closing congregational hymn, which expressed the theme well: 

Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of they great bounty, Lord, each day I live
I shall divide my gifts from thee With every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me. 

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread, My roof’s safe shelter overhead,
That he too may be comforted. 

Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord,
I’ll share thy love again, according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need; I’ll show that love by word and deed:
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

            —Text: Grace Noll Crowell; Music: Phillip Landgrave

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