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MayWeAlwaysBeGrateful.com

May We Always Be Grateful

"A single grateful thought raised to heaven
is the most perfect prayer."
G.E. Lessing


HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL

America's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation
The First Official Thanksgiving Day Prayer
of These United States of America


George Washington

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness;

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our service and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government as a blessing to all the people by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, A.D. 1789.
George Washington --

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer


Yogi Bhajan

Our thanks to every such environment where man is supposed to grow in peace and harmony, in love and in tranquility.

Our thanks to all that what is graceful around us and also our thanks to all that what forces us to become graceful.

Our thanks to that negativity which has made us positive.

Our thanks to that power to overtake us, which has given the power to love to sustain our self.

Our thanks to all those natural calamities which have given us the joy and beauty that we have crossed them.

Our thanks to all those sicknesses and weaknesses and laziness which has given the power to triumph over it and give the survival to chant the Holy Naam.

Our thanks to all those enemies who made us strong, that we love to live and our thanks to the Almighty Creator, who has created us to go through all this experience in the Name of that Holy Name which prevails through everybody.

That Cosmic Power which is the instrument of our life and our dignity, that Adi Shakti (Primal Power) of which we all are part in one brotherhood as pure beings, to that height and consciousness that is which holds this world.

We pray in Thy Consciousness, oh Consciousness of all consciousness, to be with us and bring love and tranquility, peace to every heart.
Yogi Bhajan, Thanksgiving Day, 1971 --

A Christian gives thanks that America is not a Christian nation

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The Declaration of Independence

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution


These foundation stones of American democracy were laid a century too late to save Mary Dyer's life. Dyer, a middle-aged mother of six, was hanged in 1660 for defying a Puritan law that banned Quakers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Christians who cruelly deprived this woman of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness were dead certain (so to speak) that they were on a mission from God, protecting their "divinely ordained" civic order against Mary Dyer's seditious belief in the Inner Light.

As a spiritual descendant of Mary Dyer, I'm profoundly grateful that America is not a Christian nation. If it were, my Quaker convictions might get me into very deep oatmeal. And as a Christian who does his best to take reason as seriously as I take faith, I find impossible to understand America as a "Christian nation" -- and I believe that there are vibrant possibilities in the fact that it is not.

Whatever America's founders believed about Christianity -- and they believed a wide range of things -- they clearly rejected the idea of an established church. That's strike one against the curious conceit that we're a Christian nation.

If being a Christian nation means asking ourselves every day, "What would Jesus do?" about a political issue, then doing it, that's strike two. To take but one example (without forgetting things like slavery, justice for those who can afford it and peace through war):

"If [America] is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." Stephen Colbert

If a Christian nation is one whose popular culture is dominated by Christian convictions about what's good and true and beautiful, I'm afraid that's strike three. Just look at the fact that our nation-wide Christmas festivities begin on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, a day that celebrates consumerism, our true civil religion. And if anyone wants a fourth swing of the bat in hopes of getting on base, let me pitch this brief theological reflection.

If, as Christians believe, God is the Creator and Redeemer of All, then there's no way God favors Americans above people of other nationalities. Strike four.

As a Christian, I'm passionately opposed to American pretensions that we have special standing with God; to political office-seekers who play on our religious differences; and to the religious arrogance that says, "Our truth is the only truth." But I'm equally passionate about the urgency of creating a culture of meaning that responds to the deepest needs of the human soul. This is a task we have been neglecting at great peril, a task that demands the best of all our wisdom traditions, a task on which people of diverse beliefs can and must make common cause.

Viewed from this angle, the fact that America is not and cannot be a Christian nation is very good news. America's freedom of religion, and freedom from religion, offers every wisdom tradition an opportunity to address our soul-deep needs: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, secular humanism, agnosticism and atheism among others. These traditions are like facets of a prism, each of which refracts a different wave length of the Light that overcomes darkness, including the darkness created from time to time by every nation and every tradition.

The philosopher Jacob Needleman has said that "one of the great purposes of the American nation is to shelter and guard the rights of all men and women to seek the conditions and the companions necessary for the inner search." In this society, where religious and philosophical diversity is one of our most precious assets, we can take a big step toward opening our culture to the "inner search" by shaking off the mistaken notion that this is code language for the search for God.

Inner-life questions are the kind everyone asks, with or without benefit of God-talk: Does my life have meaning and purpose? Do I have gifts that the world wants and needs? Whom and what shall I serve? Whom and what can I trust? How can I rise above my fears? How do I deal with suffering: my own, that of my family and friends, and that of the larger world? How can I maintain hope? What does any of this mean in the face of the fact that I'm going to die?

These are not questions that yield to conventional answers. They are the big questions that must be "lived" so that we might "gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers" (Rainer Maria Rilke). Do our schools give young people a chance to wrap their lives around questions of that sort? Do our religious communities listen for the questions that are alive among us instead of answering questions that few are asking? Do we offer spaces of public life that are safe for vulnerable explorations of meaning, spaces that are not Roman arenas where demagoguery slays reflective, rational and factually grounded discourse?

American democracy gives us a chance to do all of that and more, free of ideological restraints. That's why I'm grateful that America is not and cannot be a Christian nation.

Of course, we can continue to have pseudo-theological food fights over questions like, "How can we save our nation by making all Americans into God-fearing souls?," or "How can anyone be so ignorant as to believe in God or the soul?" Or we can take advantage of the fact that American democracy offers us an open space in which to pursue questions of personal, communal and political meaning, illumined by multiple sources of light.

Which will it be? That's a question worth wrapping our lives around, with gratitude for our political inheritance.

Parker J. Palmer
Center For Courage and Renewal --

Life is the only gift of God within you...be grateful. Yogi Bhajan

Factoid

November 28, 2013 was the last occasion on which we celebrated
Thanksgiving and Hanukka jointly for the next 79,403 years.
The previous occasion was the year 1888.
Check it out here.

      

Please Respect My Religion

The Declaration of Independence

To The Greatest Generation ... "Before You Go"

The Signers of The Declaration of Independence

The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom

"Life is like a gift they say...wrapped up for you everyday."


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