Saturday, November 19, 2011


I saw this on the blog for American Public Media's wonderful show On Being (formerly called Speaking of Faith). It spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you. Though written long ago, to me this prayer seems all the more poiniant today. We live in a time were Christmas is a point of contact between two religions that I exist in the context of, each with their own ritual, orthodoxy and sacred stories.
One, perhaps the one we are most familiar with, says that I show love to the few people I really care about by buying them things that they don't need (and often times don't even want), I gorge myself with food and the drive for more. "It's a wonderful life...but I'm going to be paying off credit cards till Febrewary!". The other is a story of refugees from an occupied land, amidst dictators, infanticide and the creator of the Universe siding with the losers of history in some strange ways. So, in the approaching shadow of Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day (the single largest day of consumerism in the USA each year) and the approach of Advent, I offer you all this prayer and my hope we all might find what we are looking for under a glowing bush (instead of a artificial tree).

Thanksgiving Day Prayer
by Walter Rauschenbusch (1861–1918)

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

The prayer was origionally posted here

Follow-up piece here

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