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Weekly Inspiration by: Rev. Irving Letto St. John's Anglican Church, Lunenburg

Prayers of thanksgiving

 Last fall during one of the Wednesday morning celebrations of the Eucharist at St. John's Church, three visitors entered the church part way through the service. This was not a new experience and, as usual, I welcomed them and invited them to be a part of our worship if they wished.

 They joined us when it came time to receive communion. Then the youngest of the three asked if she could sing one of their prayers for us. She sang it in her native language.

 Later, I learned that they were from the cruise ship in town for the day. They were Hindus from India. She translated her prayer for me:

 You have given me everything.
 What gift can I give you?
 I can only join my hands in prayer and humility.
 For you are my Krishna
 You are my Ram
 You are my preserver Vishnu
 You are my refuge and peace, O Shiva.

 The language was unfamiliar. The names used for God were not from our tradition. But the spiritual sentiment was able to be shared by us all.

 You have given me everything.
 What gift can I give you?
 I can only join my hands in prayer and humility.

 God is always greater and more wonderful than the words or doctrines we use to talk about God.

 Every religion has beautiful stories and ideas. The best of them open our hearts to wonder and make us hungry to know more. The worst of them narrow our vision and make us think that we are right.

 In the movie Shadowlands, C.S. Lewis speaks about why he prayed so much, especially when his wife was dying of cancer. He said, "I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It does not change God. It changes me."

 I heard someone say that all prayers should be thanksgiving.

 If all people who prayed could approach prayer with this kind of humility, the world would be a more peaceful place because we'd be much less defensive and more open to accepting and respecting one another.

  May 15, 2002  
 
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