Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bowne Park Blessing

Through a series of connections and about only three degrees of separation I was invited to offer a “Blessing” at the Bowne Park Civic Association 2009 “Holiday Gathering.” Bowne Park is both a park and the neighborhood around the park located north of downtown Flushing in the New York City borough of Queens. The park is not far from North Church Queens, which sits on the edge of the neighborhood.

From the flyer announcing the event I knew we would be lighting a menorah and a tree, that we would be singing holiday songs, and that some elected officials would be present. I did not know that it would be cold and raining.

A dozen or two folk gathered around the announced 3:00 PM starting time in spite of the cold steady rain. The Rabbi (left in the photo right) explained the menorah and led us in a couple songs related to lighting it. I offered the following blessing. We then enjoyed some Dunkin Donuts munchkins, coffee and hot chocolate and after brief conversations headed to warmer and drier environs, like home.

God of all people,
we, of many faiths and traditions, have gathered here,
men and women of numerous nationalities and ethnicities,
to help bring light and warmth to our neighborhood of Bowne Park,
to our Borough of Queens,
and to our great metropolis, New York City,
and to witness to the glue of common humanity that binds us together,
the need and desire to set aside times and seasons as holidays,
and places for common assembly and use by all.

Regardless of whether we personally celebrate
Aid, Hanukkah, Yuletide, Christmas, or Kwanza,
unite us around the shared themes of
and celebration.

May the lights of menorahs and trees and all holiday decorations
not only remind us that light always dispels the night,
but also that
hope conquers despair,
love overpowers hate,
tolerance is preferable to prejudice,
and freedom is superior to oppression.

Bless us and our great nation not only this day and during this holiday season,
but in all the seasons of the year.


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