Saturday, May 5, 2007
Our Interfaith Nat'l Day of Prayer
Our Interfaith NDOP was of course very nice.
I didn't try to take any time off for it this year, just made a lunchtime dash of it. We parked a few blocks away and ran to the lovely little downtown park, arriving none too early! Padre Roz (who will be officiant at our wedding instead of Talon, now) was being TV interviewed off in a corner and at first I was having trouble spotting familiar faces, but then began to recognize some folks: Seymour and the other Jewish ole boy, the Presbyterian pastor who always brings the sound equipment, good old Heywood the Muslim chaplain, the Baha'i lady, Donna the semiagnostic Unitarian lady, and Paul the Catholic deacon...
The turnout was downright scant. We need to promote it more next year, or else try to take over the City Hall event again! But it was a splendid service, lovely weather for it and a very happy and peaceful and blessed mood. The prayers were most righteous and powerful, in this order: Baha'i, Anglican, Muslim, Protestant, Buddhist, Unitarian, Roman Catholic and Jewish. Unfortunately, Mrs. P the Hindi was not there this year, a pity because the prayers she sings are splendid.
I taped a sheet of paper with big block print NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO so people could tell what was being chanted, then said, "Thank you for attending, and thanks to the Interfaith Council once again for providing *this* kind of National Day of Prayer observance, representing genuine and lawful religious liberty..."
"In Nichiren Buddhism," I says, "the practice of prayer consists of reciting a sutra called Lotus of the Wonderful Law, truth so absolute and potent that its mere utterance transforms karma. We want good karma for Abilene and the United States, and we pray for peace and true justice throughout the world." Then I ding-dinged my little bell and briskly recited the Ji Ga Ge, a passage of verse from the Lotus Sutra that takes I guess 2-3 minutes, then chanted daimoku for less than a minute.
We concluded with the traditional breaking-bread-together ritual in which several circles of people of diverse faiths share a loaf. This year the bread was delicious homemade stuff with poppy seeds on it, baked at Temple Mizpah by Seymour's wife.
After minimal chitchat with some gentle folks, we took off right away because I had to get back to work. It was a wonderful occasion of faith and freedom.
Website suggested by our journalist friend Brian: http://www.religioustolerance.org/
Photo: Location of NDOP ceremony in our city
at 7:57 PM