Thursday, August 5, 2010

Praise the Lord and Pass the Mashed Potatoes


For what would you pray if someone called on you to say “a word of prayer” in a public place?
by Charlie Leck

At our family reunion this past weekend, at the first dinner we all had together, in a common dining room, someone called on me to say a word of thanks (or grace) before dinner. The guy happened to know that I spent a few years in the Christian ministry. He didn’t know, however, that they were basically undistinguished years – or “indistinguishable” years, depending upon how you want to look at it.

Well, I stood to pray. It didn’t go well.

I wished, afterwards, that I had taken my time and thought calmly about what I could say that might resonate with every single person who was gathered for dinner (Jews, Christians, Buddhists, atheists, others). I wished that I had remembered my e .e. cummings and used him. Now, with the time to think about it, here’s what I would have prayed (instead of the sorry pabulum I offered).

Father, Creator, hear, I beg, our plea!
You, Lord of All, are beyond creation and beyond all Being…
Beyond the Spirits and beyond all spirituality…
Deeper than the mighty depths of the sea…
And higher than the measurements of space…
You are the Being of all Beings…
The Depth of all Intellect…
And the Source of all Truth!

We know not your Name
and we cannot address You in confidence, but only in fear and trembling!

Are You there?
You, the Great, Invisible Spirit of the Universe,
Are you there?

To one, You are This
And to another You are That.

To me, You are the Source of all Truth…
and You are the Inner Most Being of the Universe…

For all of us, You are the Being for which we search…
for which we hope…
for which we pray…
for which we beg…

You are the Giver of all that we have…
our wealth…
our health…
our very Being…

To thank You is absurd; yet our gratitude we offer…
To praise You is foolishness; yet we do…
To worship You is simpleness; and in our simplicity we do…
To follow You is blindness; and without seeing we seek You…

To accept You – You who binds humanity in Oneness – as the Truth and the Hope of our lives
is all that we can do…

And so, on this day, in this lovely place, in this quiet time,
as a family, in desperation, we devote our inner most souls to the truth of Your Being…

What else can we do?

Accept our thanks, we pray, for we believe; though we do not know!”

I can only imagine that, by the time I neared the conclusion, the purpose of the prayer, the children would have moved beyond squirming and the hall would have been chaos – as is our Faith!

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1 comment:

  1. It certainly would have been gravy for the potatoes.

    ReplyDelete