“We build on foundations we did not lay.
We warm ourselves at fires we did not light.
We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.
We drink from wells we did not dig.
We profit from persons we did not know.
We are ever bound in community."

Rev. Peter Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reflections on an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Last Thursday, I participated in the annual Minneapolis Downtown Clergy Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. I've just recently joined this group, so this was the first time I've been a part of the service. 

As a Unitarian Universalist, interfaith services are not new to me, but none-the-less, this service was a powerful experience, as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Unitarian Universalists and people from all walks of life worshiped together at Plymouth Congregational Church. 

If every there was a day for an interfaith service, Thanksgiving is that day. What united us during that service was not a set dogma, or doctrine, but gratitude, praise, and awe. (Things near and dear to my heart; I've blogged about gratitude here, and here.) What united us, beyond belief, was love - love for the creation/creator, love for our neighbors - known and yet to be known - love for the lives we have been blessed with, and the people who nourish and support our lives. 

Gratitude, praise, awe, and love - a solid foundation for a meaningful, grounded life in any faith tradition. 

Thanks to Plymouth for hosting; thanks to all who came and worshiped together; thanks to my colleagues for their tireless efforts to create bridges, meaningful connections and relationships among the various faith communities in the Twin Cities. I'm honored to be a part of this group, and can't wait until the service next year. 


During the service I shared a poem/meditation, by the Rev. Max Coots, a deceased Unitarian Universalist minister. Many of you have requested a copy of this poem, "A Prayer of Thanksgiving." Here it is:

Let us give thanks...

For generous friends...with hearts as big as hubbards
and smiles as bright as their blossoms;

For feisty friends as tart as apples;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us we had them;

For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible;

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn -- and the others -- as plain as potatoes, and so good for you.

For funny friends, who are as silly as brussels sprouts and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes, and serious friends as complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions;

For friends as unpretentious as cabbages, as subtle as summer squash, as persistent as parsley, as delightful as dill, as endless as zucchini, and who -- like parsnips -- can be counted on to see you through the long winter;

For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time, and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;

For loving friends, who wind around as like tendrils, and hold us despite our blights, wilts, and witherings;

And finally, for those friends now gone, like gardens past, that have been harvested - but who fed us in their times that we might have life thereafter;

For all these we give thanks. 



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