After a day practicing Sabbath (I napped, read 2.5 books, petted the kitties, listened to the rain, and enjoyed the silence), tonight was the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.
I've been involved in this service since the beginning, which we think may have been 7 years ago. Or possibly 6. In any case...we have had a variety of ways to give thanks as a community over the past several years. Some years we have relied heavily on spoken and chanted prayers from different traditions--responsive readings, especially. A couple of years we had storytellers who brought out different themes of gratitude. Last year we asked each faith community to give us a synopsis of the foundations/keystones of their tradition, and celebrated the things that make us who we are--and then we asked each individual to think of what they personally have to offer, and we put together the puzzle of our community, literally.
This year, we called the program "Melodies of Gratitude" and we spent the evening hearing music from a variety of musicians who are part of different traditions. Some of the music was explicitly religious (a Muslim poem of thanks), others were written by members of the various communities. Some were instrumental and meditative, evoking thoughts of our blessings without ever uttering a word, others involved the whole congregation in singing along. While it went longer than we anticipated, it was wonderful to hear from so many beautiful voices and instruments, to let gratitude echo through the amazing space and settle into our souls through melody, harmony, rhythm, and wonder.
I'm so lucky to be a part of Faithbridge. I hope everyone has something like it, because this is the kind of thing that changes the world for the better: when we get together and hear each other's songs and stories, share snacks, visit each other's houses of worship, and know our neighbors' names and places. Amazing, and worth all the gratitude we can muster!
here are some snippets of communal singing with the performers--beautiful in the wonderful Blue Lotus space, as you can hear.