DALLAS — The power of gratitude was the topic of a speech given last week at the Center for World Thanksgiving in Dallas by Virginia S. Harris, chairman of the board of directors of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, which publishes this newspaper. Mrs. Harris made the following remarks commemorating the 25th anniversary of Thanks-Giving Square, a four-acre urban sanctuary devoted to prayers of thanks by the world's major faiths:
"We know that giving thanks is not confined to a calendar date called Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not just a holiday, any more than it is just a place or just words.
"However, we are fully and gratefully aware that our national celebration, and this place, are symbols of a powerful force for good that runs throughout mankind.
"In preparation for the last Thanksgiving in the 20th century, representatives of major religions from 33 countries met in Dallas to discuss the importance of Thanksgiving. In concluding their meeting, they said: 'We see the need throughout the world for a thankful spirit that can heal the new century.'
"And perhaps some of that healing sense is needed right here - in this country - now, with a grateful conviction as we await the outcome of this significant national election that this nation's laws, its institutions, and system of government are secure, strong, and able to meet the need at hand.
"Spirituality is action. It is a resource that will never be depleted and will most benefit our world and our future. It has within itself the capacity to kindle hearts to find ways to address the crying demands of our world.
"A time of enlightenment is at hand. And giving thanks as we begin this new century does two things: First, it gives the wisdom and foresight to know what is required of us.
"And second, thanksgiving is the very strength that takes down the walls that would halt the spiritual awakening coming in the 21st century."
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society