By John B. Cobb, Jr.

O Thou, who art both Father and Mother of us all, we thank you for the beauty and love with which we are surrounded here. We thank you that we can live with others who share our gratitude to you and have concern one for another. We thank you that as the years pass and death draws closer, we will not be alone.

We are grateful, O God, that we share so much with one another here, above all our faith in you as we know you through Jesus Christ. But we are grateful also that our mutual support does not depend on agreement. We thank you that as Christians, we can disagree with one another, dispute with one another, and even find in that a deepening of fellowship one with another.

We would that the good fortune we enjoy were universal. We know it is not. We know also that to be miserable because of the suffering of others does them no good. We believe, Giver of all Gifts, that you want us to enjoy the delicious food so graciously served us day after day, and to indulge ourselves in the many pleasures that life here offers us. But we would offer ourselves, in turn, in your service, so that even as our bodies grow frail, we may do something to ease the lot of others.

We believe that we have learned something through our years of service in this country and around the world. We have gifts and talents to share with others. We would like to share the wisdom of experience and age. But in our rapidly changing world, we are not sure that others want what we have to offer. Give us wisdom, O Fount of All Wisdom, to know when we can share and how, without interfering or the appearance of arrogance.