This past Monday night was our turn to host our movie group at our house.  Our group currently consists of five couples and three children.  We take turns hosting the group which meets every other month.  The hosts provide a simple meal and get to choose the movie to be discussed at the gathering.  We chose Arranged for this meeting of our group, a wonderful independent film about the friendship between two young women, one a devout Muslim and the other an Orthodox Jew.  The website for the movie, found at http://www.arrangedthemovie.com/, includes the tag line “friendship has no religion.”  It’s a beautiful movie and I highly recommend it.
As our group prepared to sit down for our meal, we paused to say grace.  This group contains five clergy types and so it’s a pretty natural thing for us to do.  I offered to lead the grace since we were hosting, and as I was just about to start I felt inspired to do something a little different.   As we all stood and held hands around the table I asked if we could begin our grace by singing together the first verse of Amazing Grace and that I would then offer a short prayer after our singing.
I have no idea what I said after the singing.  I only remember the singing and the Spirit that filled our small dining room as we sang the words we all knew by heart.  We have lived in our house for twenty-six years and while there has been plenty of singing in our house, I believe that was the first time we ever sang grace.  Our singing of our grace allowed us to more deeply feel the grace, to truly experience it in the moment.
As we gather with friends and family this Thanksgiving, may we all look for ways to “sing grace” together.  By this I mean don’t necessarily mean literally singing together, although it could mean that, but connecting our expressions of love and gratitude with our deepest emotions.  Singing grace means finding authentic and heartfelt ways of expressing our love for on another.  It means not just going through the motions, but going through the emotions.  The classic Thanksgiving hymn begins with the words, “Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices.”  Singing grace means connecting our hearts with our hands and voices.
Singing grace could may be a simple hug in the kitchen as you are cooking side by side.  Or it could mean sharing a special memory together.  Or it could mean sharing tears together over a loved one who is no longer with you.  Or it could mean watching old family movies, savoring the time together.  Or it could mean a spirited game of touch football in the back yard.  Or it could mean serving meals at your church.  Or it could mean calling or reaching to someone who is alone.  What singing grace might look like in your life, I don’t know–but you most likely do.  Singing grace can happen whenever hearts and hands and voices join together to share authentic grace and gratitude.
Grace and gratitude both come from the same root word.  Expressing our gratitude is giving voice to the amazing grace that we have experienced through our family and friends.  Singing grace is giving voice to that gratitude not just with our thoughts and words, but with our heart.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from all of us at Living Compass.  This year, may you find the opportunity not just to say grace, but to sing it as well.

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