The Interfaith Contact Group
The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group

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Graceful and Gracious Words of Spirit

February 17, 2021

One of the most fascinating aspects of being gracious is that the moment we give thanks, we seem to gain the benefit ourselves from our act of appreciation. It’s a bit like the way something changes in the moment it has been observed, even if it’s a million light years away. Thanking affects both the thanker and the one thanked. Observation affects both the observer and the object observed.

Even at this strange moment in time, there remain a few good things we can give thanks for. The longer, lighter days; a cup of tea; a breath of fresh air; the sky; a flock of birds a neighbourly word of kindness — just small things, events and encounters do seem to be worth thanking, and thanking brings changes. So, this week’s Words of Connection are dedicated to thanks.

We open with a poem by E.E. Cummings poem entitled i thank You God for most this amazing. We follow this with some prayers of thanks spanning time, country and culture.. After this we have a prayer of Gratitude for the Body, by Marianne Williamson – author, spiritual leader and political activist. We close with a 19th Century Iroquois Song to the Great Spirit, a chant that has a strangely immediate feel to it. This week’s link is a bit unusual. It’s dedicated to those people who felt that they just didn’t have enough of the snowy stuff. It’s three-and-a-half hours of tramping through a snowy forest, and I must admit, I haven’t done the full journey, but the bits I walked sometimes felt quite hazardous, and made me feel chilly too – apart from the ads.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_oqcg0hvpo

Look after yourself at this most uncertain and strange time. I do hope that you enjoy these words of thanks,

Very best wishes

Anthea
Chair IFCG

 

i thank You God for most this amazing

e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

 

WORDS OF THANKS

FOR THE MOON
Modern prayer from Alice Springs, Australia

 

When I give thanks for the moon,
Let the moon be a symbol of everything else
For which I feel gratitude.

As I lift my binoculars
To observe its astonishing seas and craters,
I am raising my arms in a prayer of thanksgiving
For the cosmic miracle.

 

FROM AN EGYPTIAN CHRISTIAN PAPYRUS
(Patrologia Latina)

On you we call, Lord God,
All wise, All seeing, All-holy,
The only true Sovereign.

You created the universe:
You watch over all that exists.
Those who lie in darkness,

Overshadowed by death,
You guide to the right road, the safe road.

Your will is that all humankind should be saved
And come to the knowledge of the truth.

With one voice we offer you
Praise and thanksgiving.

 

FOR UNKNOWN GIFTS

Contemporary Polish Prayer

Thank you for what we might one day
Be lucky enough to see, hear, smell,
Taste and touch for the first time.

 

QUOTATIONS

MEISTER ECKHART (1260-1328)
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you’ it will be enough.

WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827)
Gratitude is heaven itself

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850 -1894)
Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.

 

PRAYER OF GRATITUDE FOR THE BODY
Marianne Williamson

Dear God,

As I rise up, I thank You for the opportunity to be on this earth.
I thank you for my mind and body,
I thank you for my life.
Please bless my body and use it for Your purposes.
May I rise up strong today, and may my soul and body radiate Your love.
May all impurities be cast out of my mind, my heart, my body.
May every cell of my being be filled with Your light.
May my body and mind both be illumined for Your sake and for the sake of all the world.
Amen

 

TO THE GREAT SPIRIT

19th Century Iroquois Song

We return thanks to our mother,
the earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicines
for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters,
the beans and squashes, which give us life.
We return thanks to the bushes and trees,
which provide us with fruit.
We return thanks to the wind,
which, moving the air, has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and the stars,
which have given us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to our grandfather He-no,
that he has protected his grandchildren from witches and reptiles,
and has given us his rain.
We return thanks to the sun,
that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in whom is embodied all goodness,
and who directs all things for the good of his children.