A Thanksgiving Self-Examination
My opening prayer from last evening’s 33rd Annual Thanksgiving Ecumenical and Inter-religious Service at St. John’s Cathedral in Boise, Idaho on the theme of thanksgiving (to be sure), but particularly for welcome and refuge.
O Holy God,
We gather here in this space in response to the way each of us has heard your calling in our life. A calling from a power greater than ourselves. You have created space for us: a foundation of life, a sustaining breath, a nurturing presence, a healing peace. In your awe and mystery you yet condescend to know, to love, and to care for us – and for this we gather in thanksgiving and praise.
You also challenge us to live by the model of your welcome, refuge, and grace.
We share a common bond that all our ancient stories, and too often our contemporary journeys, have included exile, persecution, disestablishment, and wandering. We have all been stranger. We have all been the outsider. We have been the dispossessed. And yet you found us – you welcomed us – you resettled us – you gave us peace.
Have we done the same to one another?
Have we recognized the life and dignity of all people no matter how different than us they may appear?
Have we claimed ownership and responsibility within our family and within our community to not stop at pointing out problems but becoming a participant in the solution?
Have we sought to recognize the consequences of our decisions, our comforts and our fears, on those who live near us, and far away?
Have we been a voice of accountability to the systems and structures of power in our world – speaking the truth in love for the common good of all peoples?
Have we sought out to learn from the poor and vulnerable in the world that our voices be used to make their voices heard?
Have we nurtured the goodness of creation and lived as steward of the resources of our world recognizing that we have no primary claim on them but rather we are caretakers of blessings meant for all people – those living, and those yet unborn?
Grant, o Spirit of Love, that we may examine ourselves with these questions with the same spirit of mercy with which you inquire of us. And may the revelations we gain not be a source of guilt but an empowering passion that emboldens us to dare to change the ways of this world to conform to your ways and your spirit of creative and redeeming love.
From the beginning to the ending and in each moment in between we give thanks to you – our guiding light and inspiring life – may it ever be so, Amen.