Ananda Family News

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Celebration

Thanksgiving day at our temple started off with a service in which Nirmoha led us in a special ceremony of giving thanks. Two tables had been supplied with pens and a large number of fallen leaves of all colors. During the chanting of “O God Beautiful” we each got to take a leaf and write on it something we were thankful for, before taking it to the altar to offer back to the Masters. As an additional dimension, for those so inclined, we were encouraged to give thanks not just for something obviously good or enjoyable, but for something that we found challenging. Knowing that everything God sends us is for our own ultimate growth helps us to reframe a situation and be grateful for it,  even in a moment when it might not seem so desirable. The colorful leaves not only complimented the altar beautifully, but reminded us that change itself can be beautiful.

The Thanksgiving banquet that followed the service was a masterpiece, even by Ananda standards. And I’m sure we were all glad to be eating nutloaf rather than turkey, as we enjoyed a reading from Master’s 1934 Thanksgiving letter. (One of many choice quotes: “Be sure to thank God for forgiving you for compelling the quickening of the turkey’s evolution against its own will. And also thank God that you are not the turkey, to be used for the festivity of Thanksgiving.”)

Other entertainment for the afternoon included “Praise Ye the Lord” performed by a small ensemble, followed by “Zen Gospel Singing,” with Trish and Graham. Accelerating the progression of divine silliness, Steven stole the show with “If I’d Only Meditate,” sung to the tune of “If I Only Had a Brain,” and performed complete with scarecrow costume. This one very much deserves a full reading of the lyrics. (There’s a video, too!)

If I’d Only Meditate

I’d be pious, I’d be humble,
Walk the path without a stumble,
And radiate with joy.
Never dreary, always cheery;
I could be the next Lahiri,
If I’d only meditate.

I’d cure that rash of desperation
’bout my earthly situation,
By hearing Master’s call.
My heart would stop bein’ so fickle,
When I felt my Guru’s tickle,
If I’d only meditate.

Just think how it would be
To wake with God instead of sawin’ Z’s.
Clear the chakras and reside in ecstasy,
Instead of pining for that 50 inch TV.

I’d invigorate my dharma,
Obliterate my karma,
Illuminate my soul.
With my bright and saintly aura
I’d kick darkness out the door - a
If I’d only meditate.

I’d be done with courtin’ maya,
Give up my last desire
For a good cigar and brew.
Wouldn’t carry any baggage,
No more eatin' like a savage,
If I’d only meditate.

Oh, I could tell you why
There’s a star in the spiritual eye.
Or talk with God about that Praver guy.
Pay off the church, he’d say, and make your tithe.

As I seek that destination
Infused with inspiration,
I’ll know that home is near.
Livin’ life just like the Gita,
Sippin’ cups of sweet amrita,
If I’d only meditate.

The banquet wasn’t the only part of the afternoon to be regaled with music, however. Dambara and Michael managed in a single song (to the tune of “My Girl”) to detail every aspect of cleanup and takedown that needed to happen afterwards. And as Anandans are never inclined to shirk an opportunity for service or a good laugh, the banquet hall was transformed back into a temple in no time.

More pictures are here. Thank you everyone (and Everyone) who made the day such a delightful celebration!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. I loved Steven's song and lyrics. Thanks so much for posting. Now why didn't I also get to se Graham and Trish?

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