May Interfaith Calendar, Buddha Day, National Day of Prayer & Full Moon Info plus Thoughts on Grace: In Love with Life
Grace Ceremonies
Rev. Hannah Grace

Rev. Hannah Grace

As an Interfaith Minister, I am honored to join in marking the significant moments in life, bringing to the process a respect for all people and an understanding of diverse faith traditions. 
The earth is all before me:
with a heart.
Joyous,
not scared
at its own liberty.
I look about
and should the guide
I choose
be nothing more
than a wandering cloud
I cannot miss
my way. 

~ Simon Nadeau
Full Moon

This month's full moon falls on May 25th. Known as the Full Flower Moon, according to the Farmer's Almanac it is also called Mother's Moon, Milk Moon and Corn Planting Moon.  

The full moon marks a time of increasing fertility with temperatures warm enough for safely bearing young, a near-end to late frosts and an abundance of flowers in bloom.
Buddha Day
 
Vesak or Buddha Day is the most important of the Buddhist festivals. Commonly celebrated on the full moon in May, it marks the Buddha's birthday and, for some Buddhists, also his enlightenment and death.  
In 1950, the World Fellowship of Buddhists adopted a resolution to make Vesak a "public holiday in honor of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity."  In 1999, the United Nations resolved to internationally observe the day of Vesak at its headquarters and offices.
National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the 1st Thursday of May.  It was created in 1952 and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. However, many organizations have raised concerns about the position of the government to dictate when or how prayer happens. 
 
In a 2011 statement, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy wrote, "My hope for this year’s National Day of Prayer is that it will afford all of us a moment to appreciate the great diversity of faith and belief systems that exist in this country and to express gratitude for the unique nature of our democracy that allows that to be the case." 

May Newsletter

 
"Hooray, Hooray, it's the First of May!"  That was the happy declaration in my family on this morning, all of us rejoicing in green leaves, bright blossoms and warm, sunny days.  Indeed, May 1st is no less intoxicating now than it was in childhood, especially when one gloriously beautiful day spills into the next.  May is a month that makes you feel glad to be alive!

I imagine this must be how Pagans feel, too, during the ancient fire festival of Beltane.  Observed on May 1st, this heady celebration falls midway between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice.  Dancing around the May Pole, courting couples, fire rites and fertility rituals mark the coming of summer and hopes for a fruitful year.

May Interfaith Calendar

May 2nd marks the end of the twelve-day festival of Ridván. The most holy Bahá'í holiday, it celebrates Bahá'u'lláh's declaration of prophethood as heralded by the Báb.  The Declaration of the Báb on May 23rd marks the inception of the Bahá'í faith in 1844 while the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh commemorates his death on May 29th, 1892.

Good Friday and Easter Sunday this month mark the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in the Orthodox Christian faiths.  Ascension Day occurs on the 40th day after Easter and commemorates the ascension of Christ into heaven as recorded in the Gospel of Mark.  One of the earliest Christian festivals, it marks the end of the Easter season.  

From the Greek word pentekoste, meaning fiftieth, Pentecost is observed on the Sunday 50 days after Easter.  A happy festival, it celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the 12 apostles and the birth of the Christian church.  The holy day is emphasized particularly by Pentecostal churches which believe in the direct experience of the Holy Spirit.
 
Pentecost has its origins in Shavu'ot, the two-day Jewish harvest festival celebrated 50 days after Passover.  Marking the end of the barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest, at one time Jewish men were expected to bring their first omer, or sheaf, of barley to the Temple in Jerusalem. Sometimes known as the Festival of the Giving of the Law, Shavu'ot also celebrates Moses' descent from Mt. Sinai with the Torah.

Trinity Sunday falls on the first Sunday after Pentecost. Christians meditate on the doctrine of the Trinity; that there is One God who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Though the term "Trinity" is not found in the Bible, most Bible scholars agree that the Trinity doctrine is clearly expressed within Scripture.   Finally, Corpus Christi is a Roman Catholic festival celebrating the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ through the sacrament of the Eucharist.
 

Thoughts on Grace
In Love with Life


Be in love with your life
    
On a visit with my mother last winter, she told me about a recording she once had of Brother David Steindl-Rast, a well-known Benedictine monk.  The old cassette tape had long since been lost but she recalled one line clearly:  "It's not the happy people who are grateful.  It's the grateful people who are happy."  

Those two simple sentences have stuck with me, my mind wandering back over them almost daily.  Not long ago I read another quote along the same lines, this one by Rabbi Hyman Schachtel: "Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have."

Today I came upon a third quote.  My favorite of the three, Jack Kerouac said, "Be in love with your life.  Every minute of it."  (For those of you who know me even a little, you know I speak the language of the heart.)  I can feel gratitude...  I can choose happiness...  

And I can marvel at every minute I'm alive - at the birds singing and the sun shining and the stars whirling overhead and the babies and the old people and the poetry and the text messages and the friends and lovers and the coffee and the cars and the breath inside my chest - and feel totally, unimaginably, humbly grateful, and happy.
 
With Many Blessings,
Rev. Hannah Grace
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