Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Winderness Grace, Perfect for PC Gatherings

From about 1967 to about '73 I spent my summers at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, NM.  I could tell you about the activities, treks and adventures I had, but I'll save that until another time.

One of the things that sticks out most in my mind is that when I was a Cub Scout, and my parents were training, we always ate lunch in the dining hall.  Just before we always said grace, which was printed on the wall.  This was very odd to me at first, because this particular mealtime prayer was something very different to me - not the praying part, but the prayer itself.  To this day, forty-four years later, I still remember it.  It is called the Wilderness or Philmont Grace, and it goes...

For food, for raiment (meaning clothing),
For life, for opportunities
For friends and this fellowship,
We thank Thee, O Lord. Amen

A few months ago I attended a conference of the Extension Professionals Association of Florida.  As the FANREP (FL Assn. of Natural Resource Agents) president I was slated to emcee a luncheon that hosted about 350 guests.  I was told by my colleague who was in a supervisory role, to make everyone feel welcome, but not to say a blessing for the food.  I knew why, because after all, we're a government organization, 'church and state", and that rationale.  I can understand the concept, but at the time I didn't feel right.   Midway through the lunch, I interjected a comment of apology to the audience for not saying grace, because after all we have a lot to be thankful for, and in lean budget and economic times, we need all the divine help we can get.  After the luncheon five or six people told me I handled it well.

Photo Credit: Ministry To The Military Itnl.
Since then I have noticed that my County Commissioners say an invocation before each board meeting, Congress prays at the state and national houses, and we still have "in God we trust" printed on our money.  A million people have argued for and against this practice at public gatherings.  We've all heard them, so I won't go on.  When you consider the Wilderness Grace above, it says all we need to say and should not be particularly offensive to any person or one particular denomination, except for the "Lord word", referring to Jesus Christ.  The word God could be substituted to also include Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah or Higher Power for some.  I challenge my readers to continue this practice of giving thanks to our God, however you picture God to be, and to ask for His blessings to us all.  Heaven knows we need them and have a lot to be thankful for.


Anonymous said...

'should not be particularly offensive to any person or one particular denomination' except for those of us who do not believe in a higher power.

Anonymous said...

Jamie McClain / Weatherford Texas

This great country of ours was born on the foundation of freedoms that include religious practices, and that we were to be “One Nation Under God “. When we lose that, we just plain lose..

Good Job Ole Buddy

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