Thanksgiving Prayer

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The song below has been playing in my head all Holiday. I cannot wrest the images of Syrian refugees, Parisian terror victims, Palestinian and Israeli families who have all experienced death of children, parents, loved ones for decades from my mind.

I do not understand the hatred some carry in their hearts for people they would term “other”, heathen, infidel. Hate for people who have different beliefs, religions, ethnicities, heritage, backgrounds, and understanding. I do not understand killing others to bring the chapters of human history on earth to a close.

I’m not trying to be so general, amorphous, or overarching here that this prayer becomes unspecific or ambiguous and therefore without power or meaning. I simply want to see and feel love for all of God’s children in a more personal, direct and empathetic way, and allow that empathy– that real care and concern– to move me to create pathways for peace within myself and in the larger world.

Where will we find love for one another this year and into our shared future? Who will we look to for for this LOVE. Will we look at one another with new eyes, recognizing our shared humanity?

David James Duncan writes, “There is a kind of all-embracing universality evident in Mother Teresa’s prayer: “May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.” Not just fellow nuns, Catholics, Calcuttans, Indians. The whole world. It gives me pause to realize that, were such a prayer said by me and answered by God, I would afterward possess a heart so open that even hate-driven zealots would fall inside…

My sense of the world as a gift, my sense of a grace operative in this world despite its terrors, propels me to allow the world to open my heart still wider, even if the openness comes by breaking—for I have seen the whole world fall into a few hearts, and nothing has ever struck me as more beautiful.”

Will we look to the Maker and Creator? Will we look to that Jesus who holds a place of highest esteem in so many of Earth’s religious traditions? Will we find the realities of our shared similarity? Will we recognize the common desires of family, safety, love, health, community, freedom, and more?

Large questions remain. How will we make this world safe for our children, and reach out in peace to those who harbor such hatred toward their fellow humans? May peace come to the earth. Not the peace of a particular group, splinter, or fanatic movement– but the PEACE the Christ left upon the earth more than 2,000 years ago.

This peace exists, if only we reach through it time and time and time again in prayer, with broken and honest hearts, and a desire to truly act upon and share that peace with all of our Sisters and Brothers around the world. All of us His children. All of us part of a great family.

His PEACE transcends our small understanding, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Peace, I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:26-27

“Can you hear the prayer of the children?
On bended knee, in the shadow of an unknown room
Empty eyes with no more tears to cry
Turning heavenward toward the light

Crying Jesus, help me
To see the morning light-of one more day
But if I should die before I wake,
I pray my soul to take

Can you feel the hearts of the children?
Aching for home, for something of their very own
Reaching hands, with nothing to hold on to,
But hope for a better day a better day

Crying Jesus, help me
To feel the love again in my own land
But if unknown roads lead away from home,
Give me loving arms, away from harm

Can you hear the voice of the children?
Softly pleading for silence in a shattered world?
Angry guns preach a gospel full of hate,
Blood of the innocent on their hands

Crying Jesus, help me
To feel the sun again upon my face,
For when darkness clears I know you’re near,
Bringing peace again”

Kurt Bestor, 1994

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