At least patriotism is alive and well in Bonita Springs. Today, my mother and I attended my first "Annual Bonita Springs Prayer Breakfast." I wasn't sure what to expect. It was billed as non-denominational; but it was certainly oriented toward the Christian faith and the Christian Bible. I was in for a treat.
The program began with a 7:00 a.m. breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Resort at Coconut Point. Over a thousand people were parked with efficiency and seated in time! The food was just the right amount of elegance and simplicity. Two wide screens flanked the podium so visibility was perfect. Acoustics were spectacular for such a large room.
Lindsey Graham opened the program with a medley of patriotic songs that evoked tears with the power of her voice and the conviction of her emotion, as the crowd rose to a magnificent rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. A timely video portrayed famous former presidents and quotes that illustrated their spiritual beliefs in their governance of the country, followed by a quick look at all presidents, past to present and a collected vision of them in one group. Of course, that grouping pointed out the obvious lack of diversity - a subject for another blog.
Chip Ingram, Christian radio personality, author and lecturer gave an excellent talk that encouraged the audience to hear their inner voices that called them to return to their community according to the blessings in their own lives. The theme, "to whom much is given, much is expected in return" was particularly aimed at those in the audience with talent, wealth and experiences that could still make a positive difference in their communities and the world at large. Many were retired, and teased a bit for their time on the golf courses improving their strokes when they were needed still by a troubled world.
Peppered with prayers and praise for those who contributed already to their community, the entire affair was a timely look at the blessings of life in the United States, pride in country, belief in a spiritual calling and a call to action for those of any age. Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things with baby steps, one at a time.
I was inspired without being offended. It was a call to put spirituality into action, not words. It was a message that all religions could hear and understand. It was a call to work together in partnership, not in conflict and to seek love and mend troubles.
My spiritual beliefs are pretty eclectic from a life lived in foreign countries of multiple beliefs. I don't believe one religion has the answers; I believe there are many paths to spiritual understanding. However, today's Bonita Springs Prayer Breakfast certainly provided food for thought and action toward a positive path. It was a new experience, and I was glad for the inspiring morning.
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