Last week our church organized an ecumenical service of Thanksgiving for Americans in Paris. Of course, non-Americans were welcomed to participate but the service was held on Thanksgiving Day, November 28 as a way for those of faith to acknowledge our corporate thanksgiving to God.
What was uniquely special was that it was the first time we were privileged to have leaders from the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities participate in the worship service.
Since Thanksgiving Day coincided with Hanukkah (which will not occur again for 78,000 years), the Rabbi Tom Cohen light the Menorah on the altar and said a few words about both the Christian origin of Thanksgiving and its Jewish roots in Sukkot, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
Scriptures were read from the Koran in Arabic and English and from the Hebrew Scriptures in Hebrew and English.
The new Dean of our sister parish The American Cathedral in Paris, the Very Right Reverend Lucinda Laird offered the homily.
The liturgy, songs of praise, scriptures and prayers were carefully chosen and crafted to reflect thanksgiving to God and provide an inclusive atmosphere for people of faith, regardless of their particular religion of tradition.
The gospel embodiment of hospitality was tangibly evident throughout the service and our Jewish and Muslim friends expressed their gratitude for the warm welcome they received.
Equally, we were blessed by witnessing their passion and appreciation for God’s blessings as well as their commitment in partnering with the Christian community towards the advancement of understanding, mutuality, respect and peace for all God’s children.
If interested, you can see the actual service and liturgy below.