IN THE SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING
A PRAYERFUL REFLECTION
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Nov. 22, 2012
Kanwal Prakash Singh
For Sikhs, every day, every hour, every season, and every condition in which Sutguru (God) places us is a moment of gratitude and thanksgiving. The Sikh sacred Scriptures remind us to be a sanctuary of hope and healing, loving, and thankful for all that God places at our crossroads. Let our spirit recognize and celebrate that every living being offers us a unique testimony, sets an example where we may discover inspirations, encouragement, friendships, and lessons to brighten and improve the human condition. For that, among other things that include interfacing with life in its myriad manifestations, we are immeasurably blessed and eternally grateful.
We are very proud to hear about the Punjabi Cultural Society (PCS) in Chicago participating in the 2012 McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Chicago, Illinois. Millions will see that Sikh Americans are a part of and partners in one of the most celebrated American holidays and rich traditions. To be invited to participate in the significant and exciting happenings at the local and national level is an acknowledgement of the presence of diverse cultures, faiths, and ethnic communities that make up the vibrant and colorful fabric of America. Such invitations are an enormous privilege and blessing; they especially provide Sikh Americans opportunities to give a robust display of Punjabi culture and spirit before local, national, and international audiences and assure their pride and commitment to the enlightened ideals and foundations of America.
Throughout the U.S., Sikh Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving with family and community gatherings, participate in interfaith prayer services, share ethnic adaptations of traditional Thanksgiving meals with family and friends, feed the hungry and homeless, watch football and fabulous Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and express their solidarity with fellow Americans.
The past several weeks have been culturally and spiritually uplifting in Indiana: an Interfaith Pilgrimage to the Sikh Gurdwara (Temple); the annual International Festival; multicultural and interfaith educational forums; The Veterans Day remembrances and parades; Diwali (Indian Festival of Light) and Bandi Chhor Diwas (an event connected with the life of the sixth Prophet of the Sikhs, Guru Hargobind Sahib) at the Sikh Gurdwara. There was also the famous Thanksgiving Duck Luncheon, a gathering of brilliant leaders representing every major field and facet of endeavor and community who have been transforming Indiana with their imaginative vision, incredible gifts, and uncommon dedication. The Thanksgiving Duck Luncheon is organized by one of Indiana's outstanding servant-leader, Jim Morris, President of the Indiana Pacers (basketball team) and former Chief of the U.N. World Food Program.
INTERFAITH THANKSGIVING SERVICE
Reflecting upon the events of recent days and upon the rich and beautiful Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at the majestic Second Presbyterian Church last night, my mind kept traveling to a time and place, to a spirit and cherished promise where we carry the light and wisdom from our daily prayers, sacred commandments, and by manifesting our faith as a living testimony and be a sanctuary of hope and healing, messengers of love and gratitude, and as trusted selfless anchors to serve causes that make a difference to human freedoms, prosperity, and strengths of our shared universe and civilization. We pray that we work with fellow Americans and as world citizens to dispel hunger and suffering wherever it is happening, replace devastating fears with freedom and hopefulness of a better tomorrow; strive for peace and humanitarian accommodation as the true answer for human happiness and advancement.
Life is a gift and a miracle of God, and we are All Children of One God. According to the Sikh scriptures: “Each of us a repository of Divine Light.” That means, that each of us has a moral responsibility to do what we can to expand that promise and dispel darkness and despair. “Life is a thanksgiving and a blessing, a time and place to know and serve God.” Generosity of spirit, unbound and unconditional compassion, loving and sharing with joy and thanksgiving are the Face of God. No one is outside the circle of God's Love; we are all God's Family. God's sunlight and rain cover the entire Creation, so must our thoughts and actions.
Thanksgiving is about cultural, spiritual, and humanitarian embrace. It is about creating a sanctuary of hope and promise that extends to include others who may be in need; they carry the power to help us discover our own humanity, our faith lessons, and the true meaning of thanksgiving. In giving, sharing, we become the recipients of the undreamed-of blessings.