Starry Night Nebula
It was my turn again to lead noonday prayer at the center down the street. Here's what I said/did:
Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson opened his prayer at the inauguration festivities for President Obama with the address to the "God of our many understandings." Coincidentally, the adult group I lead once a month considered different ideas about the holy at our last meeting, and today I offer a few quotes from that group's readings for consideration.
from Christian theologian Paul Tillich:
The name of this infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of all being is God. That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. Perhaps in order to do so, you must forget everything traditional that you have learned about God, perhaps even that word itself.
from Rabbi Harold Kushner:
God is that which liberates the potential for humanity, which is within each of us. I can believe in God, not because someone has proven it to me philosophically, but because I so often see ordinary people become capable of the most extraordinary accomplishments.
from writer Annie Dillard
Every day is a god, each day is a god, and holiness holds forth in time. I worship each god. I praise each day splintered down, colors spreading, at dawn fast over the mountains split. I wake in a god.
We took some time to reflect on the readings, and on our own understandings of God/the holy. Then, the four of us who were there shared our thoughts. We began praying with words from Alice Walker:
Dear God. Dear stars, dear trees, dear sky, dear peoples. Dear everything. Dear God.
We prayed, silently and aloud, lifting up our challenges and joys of the day. And we ended with words adapted from the prayers of Mahatma Gandhi:
May God protect us, may the holy support us, may we make joint progress, may our studies be fruitful, may we never harbor ill will against one another. Om shanti, shanti, shanti.
Blessed Be and Amen.