Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service

Day: Monday, November 13, 2017
Time: Noon
Place: Mount Carmel College Lounge
Who: All are welcome
And: Lunch will be served following the Service

It is a challenge to our faith to feel ready for this season of Thanksgiving when the world has suffered so much in recent months. From the devastating natural disasters – ranging from hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and fires – to the man-made disasters of the violence in Las Vegas and Manhattan, the opioid crisis, and 111 homicides since January in our beloved Columbus alone – it may seem difficult to give thanksgiving in the fact of so much suffering.

However, Psalm 116, written more than two thousand years ago, may lead us in reflection through this quagmire. Biblical scholar Elmer A. Leslie names this psalm a personal Thanksgiving Prayer while the psalmist is dealing with suffering. From, “O Lord, I pray, save my life...” to “Praise the Lord,” in last verse, this amazingly graced prayer integrates suffering and thanksgiving. As we come together for our annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Prayer Service, we will bring to the table this prayer of the psalmist.

In the September 24 issue of The Wall Street Journal, Pedro Donis of Puerto Rico prayed his own psalm. He prayed about his experience of Hurricane Maria – that he and the people in his neighborhood lacked food and water and were getting desperate. But in thoughtful grateful pause, he reflected: “Things are going to take time… But thank God I’m alive.” I wrote to the writer of this article and asked him to thank Pedro for his inspiration that helps us as we prepare for our Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service on Monday, November 13.

We have prayer concerns here in our College community: A student’s mother has been diagnosed with aggressive cancer; a faculty member lost her parent; and Jenny and Miguel Garcia – who will be with us for our prayer service – are trying desperately to get help for Miguel’s father in Puerto Rico.

Invited faith leaders who will call us to a prayer of Thanksgiving and Healing are: Pastor Juan Leon, Imam Horsed Noah, Rabbi Jessica Shimberg and Paulist Priest Father Stuart Wilson-Smith. Campus Ministry students who will be among those responding are: Kemi Adegoke, Diamond Akabuaku, Amanda Barrett, Becca Bujnoch, Cameron Duke, Alumna Yuliya Fonin and Fadumo Jama-Aden.

Father Stuart will accompany us on guitar with the Choir led by faculty member, Mary Yoder, and faculty member Emily Strand will accompany on piano. Student Wesley Williams, who is a musician and trumpet soloist, will play Amazing Grace. Jenny and Miguel Garcia will share how they are trying to help Miguel’s father in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

The Offering of the Prayer Service will be gifts of warm socks, hats, coats, blankets, gloves, tents, AAA batteries, and gently used men and women’s tennis shoes or boots for the homeless living on our streets, in camps, and under the bridges. The offerings will be received and distributed by Faculty member Hannah O’Handley and the staff of the Mount Carmel Outreach Street Medicine Program.

“I loved the Lord, for he heard the voice of my entreaty. Because he bent down his ear to me in the day that I kept crying…I will offer you a thanksgiving sacrifice.”
—Psalm 116: 1,2, 17

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