Warming Up Thanksgiving Dinner

I recently gave a wa’ez (sermon) on social media, service, and faith. The organizing conceit was Sesame Street, and ideas revolved around the number 5 and the letter “P.” At the end, I had five “asks” I wanted my audience to commit to, and the feedback has been positive. While I’m editing the text to be a blog post, I thought I’d at least put up the five things I asked for and see if other people wanted to participate. These have been edited from the way I delivered them, so that they would make more sense as an independent piece of writing.

Experience wonder and awe. We have these nifty cameras on our phone. Use them. Look for things to photograph during your usual routine. See the world with new eyes.

We have five weeks until Thanksgiving. At least five times every week for the next five weeks, I’d like you to take photos and share with me. You can email me, Facebook me, or get me on Twitter. I have an album on Flickr I’ve already started. Experience and share #wonderment. If you have kids, have your kids play along and look at the world through their eyes.

[I am indebted to Jim Kast-Keat of Middle Collegiate Church for inspiring me with this idea.]

Be mindful of your manners. Say thank you and please to other people, and couple it with being appreciative to God. People have been brought into your life and that affects you. Bridge the empathy gap. Witness the changes in yourself and remember the source is God.

Change the world. As you engage with the world, think about what you are doing. Dance like no one is watching, we can move beyond the numbered steps on the floor. We can do service like it’s a checklist, or we can look at what the goals of our service are and figure out how to make a lasting change.

We pray for the alleviation of difficulties. We should also pray to create a world where there is no difficulty. This reminds us that we can act to create that world.

Serve with intent. When you take on service, always ask yourself why you are doing it. Work is wonderful, but creation is better. Know that you serve because of your faith and that you have faith because you serve. As you think about your khidmat (service) as ibadat (worship), you transform yourself, your khidmat, and your community. Be mindful. When you know what and why you’re doing something, you can achieve something great.

Think local. Commit to volunteering to doing one thing in your community. Our change has to start at home.

Be grateful. Ultimately, we have been blessed by God, to struggle to know God, to meet other people who allow us to reflect on God. Count your blessings. Literally. At the end of your day, count out three things for which you are grateful. By things, I do not mean consumer goods, but the who or the what. If you have a good job, or a good education, it’s because people supported you in your quest. Be thankful for them. In being grateful, you may find a way to pay it forward as well. The important thing is to name and count your blessings.

Image courtesy of Flickr Commons.

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