Variety of churches celebrate interfaith Thanksgiving together

Nov 25 2011 - 6:12pm

OGDEN -- Expressions of gratitude are one common force that world religions have in common.

Such was the sentiment Sunday at the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service sponsored by Ogden's Interfaith Works at Your Community Connection.

The event featured presentations and prayers by members of 14 faith traditions.

Dan Litchford, who represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the event, said each year the event creates a binding theme of gratitude enjoyed by those who participate.

"I've learned that we are a lot more alike than we are different," he said.

Litchford quoted a scripture from the Book of Mormon, Alma 34:38, which read in part, "Take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

The Rev. Gage Church, of the Congregation United Church of Christ, expressed his congregation's association with the Congregational Church, of which those who first landed at Plymouth Rock were members.

He also turned to Lacee Harris, who had opened the observance with a Ute-Piute spiritual invocation, with a sincere apology to the treatment of Native Americans during the subsequent founding of this country.

He asked that people now remember not to use faith systems as weapons against one another.

Church read a poem with a theme of asking God for a wide-open heart and a sense of fairness. The poem expresses gratitude for one's senses.

Representing the Jewish community, Judi Amsel, president of Congregation B'rith Sholem, told a story of a young Jewish disabled man who kept playing as the featured performer in a symphony even after a string on his violin broke.

"Do we have the attitude of making good out of what we have, no matter what that may be?" she said. "When you open up to the trait of gratitude, there will be good things."

Amsel said there is no limit to what a person doesn't have and if that is where that person focuses, they will never be satisfied.

Alane Currier Griggs, pastor at First United Methodist Church, read Psalm 100 from the Old Testament.

"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands," she read. "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

"Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

"For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."

"Buddhism teaches us that if we want to be happy, we must first have gratitude," said Mike Monson, a member of the Ogden Buddhist Temple. "Gratitude is the magic formula for happiness."

Monson pointed out that Americans are fortunate compared with the conditions experienced by much of the rest of the world. He said a stream of causes and conditions created the privilege experienced by Americans.

Monson encouraged participants to be grateful for challenges because they teach character.

"Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive."

From Around the Web