photoIt's almost time, and I'm ready. I'll go at least a couple of times to the lakefront festival that is chock full of great food with taster portions. Besides the dozens of local restaurants; advertisers set up booths in Grant Park to get in front of the three million people who attend. One popular booth is the Pepsi Challenge. This is where you'll find long lines of people taking a blind taste test to decide whether tastes better than .

I had an assignment. Last week at my prayer study group, I was asked to prepare a lesson on a prayer called Yotzer Or (Creator of Light). I'm not the greatest student, and for sure I'm a terrible teacher, but I'm pretty good at being creative. I put together a hand-out with eight different English translations of the Hebrew prayer, Yotzer Or. There are different denominations in Judaism and each has translated and adapted prayers to reflect their own practices. So today, instead of sipping soda at 6:30 a.m., we tasted prayers; "The Prayerbook Challenge." My study partners read through the prayers on the hand-out and tried to match them with the correct source.

It was an interesting exercise to see which versions of the prayer we best related to. I even threw in a ringer. I added an original "Prayable" written by a Christian prayer writer. My friend Hedda, who is a Jewish educator, thought it was a Hebrew prayer. I was delighted to have further confirmation of the commonality of prayer. No matter what you believe, or how you practice your faith, the essence of prayer is the same. Coke and Pepsi are both made up of carbonated water and high fructose corn syrup. You may prefer the taste of one over another, but the sticky sweetness all ends up in the same place, just like prayer.

Because You Are

Right where I am is where I should be.
In the center of Your will,
the perfect place to rest and dream,
When I need to go forth You will tell me.
Your timing flawless, I will respond.
The path is not marked but I don't worry,
soon Your way will be known.

I marvel.
There's no explanation or evidence of Your existence.
I know simply because You are as constant as the sun.
All the glory goes to You.
Sustaining me, shaping me, guarding me.
You, who gives me direction.

Blessed are we who know You.
May our many voices be pleasing to You.
May the many become all and the all become one.

- Heidi Haller

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