Sunday, December 17, 2006

Transylvanian Opening Prayer

One of the first questions I had after attending church regularly in Transylvania and starting to preach in Transylvanian churches was about the structure of the prayer. The opening prayer is at least five minutes long and a significant part of the overall service.
I found out that there is a model structure for each Sunday’s prayer that is followed by ministers here:

Megszolitas- invocation
Dicsoites- glorification
Halaadas- thanksgiving
Bunbanat- penetance
Kérés- request
Befejezés- End

In the weeks leading up to the American Thanksgiving holiday, I preached a sermon on Francis David to commemorate his death anniversary (November 15th). Often when I am in the pulpit here, I have the local minister give the prayer and benediction because they are intended to reflect local issues specific to the congregation. For this particular service I chose to offer a prayer of my own attempting to follow the structure used by ministers here:

We give thanks for life and all its blessings. And today especially we give thanks for great teachers we have received including your greatest teacher Jesus and our great Unitarian teacher Francis David. We are full of gratitude for the teachings we have received and our ability to learn and make the most of our reason. We are grateful for Francis David who started this church, and for all those known and unknown who have struggled with your help guided by your great teachers to keep this faith alive and free.

Sadly we must acknowledge that sometimes we do not live up to our teaching. We allow ourselves to be divided against our beloved brothers and sisters because of old slights or petty differences. We must repent of the selfish ways of the world and set ourselves back on the right course to love our neighbors as ourselves and better serve that force that gives life to all. We must love all life with the love of that which created all. We must avert our eyes from all the distractions that life has to offer us and stay focused on our true divine purpose.

Jó istenunk look over all our brothers and sisters. Keep us on the right path and keep us from harm. May all who are cold have heat, may all who hunger have food. Let peace prevail on earth, especially as we enter this holiday season. Fill our hearts with your peace, today and everyday. Help us love one another and learn better from the great teachers you have offered us.

Isten lélek, fill our hearts during this time of worship as in all times. Help us appreciate all that is holy and right. Let our eyes be your eyes and our hands your hands to serve you as we become servants of your loving spirit. Amen.


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