By C.B. Hanif It is a basic principle of people of faith that our Maker will judge all. So to suggest which was best among the prayers at a prayer program would be a fool’s errand. Better to report what touched this beneficiary of all the goodwill articulated during Delray Beach’s ninth annual Mayor’s Interfaith Prayer Breakfast. Mayor Woodie McDuffie, in his introduction, showed again why his is a two-time All America City, with his call to what any individual can do: serve. “Let’s make 2010 a great year and remember to ‘pay it forward’ — it will come back to you,” the mayor urged the audience of 200, hosted by the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, at the Delray Beach Golf Club on Jan. 7. “Sometimes, helping your community can be as simple as offering a smile, calling a neighborhood latchkey kid in the middle of the afternoon to make sure he’s doing OK or helping an older resident at the grocery store when an item is unreachable for them.” A prayer for our military was all the more moving given that the minister who offered it, the Rev. Chip Stokes of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, was filling in for retired U.S. Army Col. William J. “Bill” Condry, absent because of illness. Keynote speaker Trent Green, a former Miami Dolphin and a minister at Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, inspired with his personal story. He said the faith he had claimed never truly opened up for him until he gave it priority over all else, including the sport that had been his lifelong preoccupation. In offering a prayer for our nation, the Rev. Dr. Waymon T. Dixon of St. Paul A.M.E. Church requested he be joined at the podium by fellow members of the Delray Beach Interfaith Clergy Association (in which I also participate). Flanking him, representing various Jewish, Christian and Muslim denominations, they demonstrated Delray’s — and our nation’s — rich religious, ethnic and gender diversity. On that bright morning, Cornella Wilder’s reading from 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 also resonated. For example: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit”; “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”; “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” She later said she chose her verses because “they seemed to best speak to all.” I suggest pulling out the Good Book and reading them again. Then, go forth and serve some more. C.B. Hanif is a writer, editor and media and inter-religious affairs consultant. Find him at www.interfaith21.com.
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