Lots and lots of talk about the inauguration. Of course, there should be…the inauguration marks the beginning of a new and exciting era for the country. Now the talk about Rick Warren’s invocation isn’t always very positive but it got me thinking. Not just about the controversy surrounding Pastor Warren, but invocations in general.
You see, I do a lot of volunteer work. I’ve always felt very fortunate for the good things that have happened in my professional life so giving back to the community is my way of saying “thanks.”
One topic that seems to pop up semi-regularly in my volunteer life is whether or not to allow invocations at meetings. This is driven by a concern that the invocation will become a religious statement. And if everyone in the room doesn’t share the same religious viewpoint…well, I’m sure you can see where this could be heading…
Needless to say, when one of the organizations where I volunteer asked me to do the invocation at their next meeting, I was honored but also challenged with what to say. Lucky for me, I found the perfect words in a little paragraph printed in Real Simple magazine. So, I wanted to share them with you.
“I’m thankful for my health, my childhood, and spell check. I’m thankful for our new hot-water tank and how we no longer have to coordinate our dishwashing with our bathing. I’m thankful for the wide range of flavors potato chips come in – mesquite barbecue in particular. For platform shoes. For coincidences. I’m thankful for all of the people who ever left, in those dishes by the cashier, a penny I later used. That I don’t know everything that people say behind my back. I’m thankful I was born after the advent of indoor plumbing, and after the popularity of corsets. I’m thankful for insect repellent, nonstick pans, and Velcro. I’m thankful that people in real life don’t spontaneously break into song like they do in the musicals, and that some weeds looks like flowers, and that at the end of a really bad day there is sleep. I’m thankful for maybe.“
When the day came to deliver the invocation, I was nervous. Wasn’t sure how people would respond to my non-denominational invocation. When I sat down afterward, the person next to me leaned over and said, “I’m hiring you to be my speech writer.”
Now, I sure don’t expect to hear something like this from Pastor Warren. But, I’m very thankful to have discovered this beautifully written paragraph. Feel free to use it at your next conference, meeting, or…inauguration.