Oh, the earth is good to me, and so I thank the earth, for giving me the things I need, the sun, the rain, and the appleseed, the earth is good to me. Amen -- amen -- amen, amen, amen, AHHHHmen.(I've shard the longer, Disney version, below. It's not as robust or off-key as our version!)
Sometimes we sing the original version, belting out, "Oh the Lord is good to me," but mostly we stick with the earth. Our son knows the song by heart and when we sing it slow enough, he can sing along with us, or we'll pause after saying, "The earth is good to...." and he'll sing, "meee."
We love holding hands and seeing each other around the table and singing together. And it's a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. (A really tender and sweet moment came last year on a family trip when our son was surrounded by parents, grandparents and great grandparents (and uncles and aunts!) and we all sang this song together. Part of the tenderness is that my grandfather is suffering from memory loss, but he knew all the words to this song, and sang with a smile and tears on his face. We all got a bit teared up, too.)
Anyway, our tradition is that after we sing, we ask, "What are you thankful for?" and then take turns saying what we're thankful for. Our son often starts, saying something like "I'm thankful for my mom and dad, and food, and books," and then he digs into his food. Sometimes he's more random in his gratitude list, and he has said some wicked funny things, too. (Like being really thankful for his "sister!" (Which he doesn't have - he's an only child!))
And then my wife and I then express our gratitude for people, food, Life/the Holy/God, family time, the gifts and blessings of the day, whatever it might be.
It's a ritual that only takes a minute, but it changes the shape of the day and the meal, as we sing together, hold hands, and name the things we're thankful for. It is a precious moment I love and look forward to. And it's a daily reminder of how incredibly amazing and miraculous this planet is - how our very lives depend upon the dirt/the earth underneath our feet.
Reflection Question: What are the rituals you do on a regular basis, with your family or otherwise? What practices and rituals help shape and ground your day?
P.S.: A quick shout and hello to some of the new folks who have been stopping by this blog! I suspect you visited us at the Lake Harriet Service on Sunday (here's a copy of the homily I shared, if you're interested) and were online afterwards wanting to learn more about First Universalist and Unitarian Universalism. Welcome!