Dear Sanctuary NYC Friends,
The Season for Humane Service is upon us. Last Sunday we shared a personal prayer with others in the service, in writing. We are asking you to pray for the person whose “anonymous” prayer you drew, for the rest of this month.
Prayer changes things. Prayer changes the person praying!
A lot of people ask me how to pray. There are so many forms of prayer, and no one form is “right”. One prayer I would say many of us know is simply “Help!!” The German mystic and theologian Meister Eckart says “If you only have one prayer, let it be “Thank You”.
I personally love beginning any prayer with thanks, with gratitude. There is a traditional prayer which begins, “Thank you for waking us up this morning in our right minds, with a reasonable portion of health…” A reasonable portion. Beautiful. People praying from externally unmanageable conditions, built into this prayer an internal sense of balance. It has been said, “It’s not what you call me, but what I answer to that counts”.
So in prayer, we call forth that which we DECLARE ourselves to be. I AM is the most powerful statement we can give our subconscious minds. So to say “Thank You” upon awakening, is to tell our deepest selves that we are blessed and highly favored, that we are deciding to focus upon our blessings, as opposed to the many, many other things we could choose to look at. I AM grateful. I AM in my right mind! I AM perfect, whole and complete. I AM a child of G-d.
This season, we recognize that there are many in the world who do not have “a reasonable portion” of the basics. In the United States children go to bed hungry, families are struggling to just get close to “a reasonable portion”, while the upper 1% continues to gain wealth. We will be focusing on a food equity project as a community for this season, with the intention of continuing on with that project throughout the rest of the year.
I think that beautiful traditional prayer leads us to realize something else too. It is hard, or maybe impossible, to BE in one’s “right mind” when the search for basic necessities is a preoccupying focus.
And so my prayer this day is for a holistic healing of our value system as a country and as a world, so that the whole person can be all that each of us is meant to be. We are one. And so as Jesus reminds us, “inasmuch as you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto me.” We are family, not just with the people we are “related to” by blood, but with all of G-d’s creation.
My niece Maggie gave me a beautiful gift years ago.
It says this:
The Fall is your Brother
And the trees are your Father
And the Earth is your Mother
And nature is your Sister
And the earth is your Family
Please take care of it.
Let’s take care of one another.
Sending you love,
See you Sunday!