by Debbonnaire Kovacs
Today I declare to the YHWH my God, with deepest gratitude, that I have come into the land that YHWH promised to give me. Wandering gypsies (not by blood, just by spirit) were my ancestors; they came from Normandy, from Scotland, from Ulster into the foreign land of the New World (and some were already here long before). They became a great family, loud and populous. They loved music and laughter and storytelling—oh, how they did love storytelling!—and fighting and arguing, for good or ill. . . but most of all, they loved their God and each other. And they loved this church.
When life treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing pain and sorrow and loss and poverty on us, we cried to YHWH, the God of our ancestors; YHWH heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.
YHWH saw our tears and walked with us through the nights and the valleys. YHWH brought us out of the bondage of old sin and addiction with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, usually in quiet and unseen power, but sometimes with signs and wonders. Some of our women dreamed dreams and some of us saw visions and heard a song in the night.
YWHW brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk (from my goats) and honey (from the neighbor’s bees), a land that brings forth vegetables and fruits bountifully. Still, in this place, there is pain and sorrow and loss, and still YHWH of our mothers walks with us.
So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O YHWH, have given me. I share the milk and the eggs with Your beloved ones, and (when summer comes) I shall share the vegetables and the fruits and the herbs. I share the first of the stories and the best of the songs and the highest words of praise I can form.
I set it down before YHWH my God and bow down before YHWH my God. Then I, together with the friends and the strangers, the known and the unknown, the understood and the misunderstood who reside among us, shall celebrate with all the bounty that YHWH our God has given to us and to our community.
Based on Deut. 26:1-11, with a little of Joel 2 and other bits and pieces thrown in.