Several hundred Austinites, many of whom have come here from around the globe, gathered this past Sunday afternoon on the beautiful Riverbend Church campus for iACT’s annual interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Unity of Austin was well represented with about nine of our congregation in attendance. The theme Universal Acceptance was evident as we experienced prayers, music, song, dance, and words of wisdom from a wide variety of faith traditions – Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Non-Denominational, Wiccan, Native American, Christianity, Buddhism, and Sikhism. The Austin Hindu Communities, this year’s event hosts, were featured. They deepened our experience of the Divine through a rich feast of ancient prayers in the form of sacred dance and song. And, through a rich feast of traditional foods! Bridges were built as people reached out to talk with each other over the delicious meal.
Sharing the many ways that we, with our array of cultural backgrounds, come into awareness of Spirit caused the world of every person there to grow larger. Gathering in friendship and interest in one another always makes our world a friendlier, safer place. Experiencing diverse paths to the one Love that births all creation makes real the truth that we are all sisters and brothers. iACT Executive Director Simone Talma Flowers expressed that certainty as she concluded her talk with the Hindu blessing, “Namaste,”–“the Divine in me salutes the Divine in you,” or said another way, “the Light in me sees the Light in you.”
We in Unity love the Namaste blessing, having borrowed it with great appreciation from Hinduism many years ago. It is a beautiful reminder of who we are and the expanded consciousness we are called to develop as constructive citizens of planet Earth. One great way to enlarge our appreciation of many faiths and the people who follow them is through iACT’s Passport Program. Over the course of the year this program provides the opportunity to travel to the houses of worship and various community celebrations of many different faith traditions. Treat yourself to this experience – your world will immediately expand!
This Thanksgiving let us deepen our commitment to the Namaste consciousness–or in Unity terms, the Christ consciousness. As we see the light in ourselves and in one another we bring heaven into earth. We participate in transforming what can sometimes seem like a chaotic world into a community of peace and friendship.