Wednesday, November 23, 2005

225. Gratefulness

"To pray is to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live. Who is worthy to be present at the constant unfolding of time? Amidst the meditation of mountains, the humility of flowers--wiser than all alphabets--clouds that die constantly for the sake of God's glory, we are hating, hunting, hurting. Suddenly we feel ashamed of our clashes and complaints in the face of the tacit glory in nature. It is so embarrassing to live! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great."
--Abraham Joshua Heschel

This evening I attended an interfaith Thanksgiving service which was remarkable because it wasn't remarkable. For the past ten years it's rotated among houses of worship, sponsored by an organization of West Side clergy; my synagogue hosted tonight for the first time ever. About 200 people showed up, with prayers and songs co-led by an imam, a Buddhist priest, a bunch of rabbis and ministers, and a fabulous, multi-ethnic Gospel choir from the church down the block. We read the Heschel quote above, which kind of summarizes in one amazing paragraph everything I've been trying to express during the past year, and we collected money for the West Side Campaign Against Hunger.

My wish for this Thanksgiving is to live in a world just like tonight's service where all people, without fanfare, will choose to give thanks, and give of themselves, in partnership with those who believe as they do as well as those who do not. Hoping everyone reading this has a day filled with peace, abundance, and gratitude.

5 comments:

Glory said...

Thank you, aa, and I wish the same for you. One of the things that I am thankful for this year is your remarkable writing, and being able to share, in some small degree, your journey of faith.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Thanks aa... and the same to you. Glory really said all that I wanted to say, so thanks for leting me tag along- and thanks also for supporting me on my journey, as well... crazy as it is!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Claire Joy said...

Amen. Thank you for the reminder.

Ayekah said...

And another Amen from me. Blessings to you.

alto artist said...

Thank you all, so very much.
--aa.