Giving Thanks

Posted by Ruth Beresford on

We have words to thank God for the "splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love." As I look out my window at the beauty this late autumn, I am grateful for all the colors, for eyes to see them, and for the memories they bring of seasons that are long past. These words come from a prayer written by one of my seminary professors more than 40 years ago, as Charles Price served on the committee that revised our Book of Common Prayer. I appreciate both meanings of the word "common," for the BCP is designed to be a shared resource, held in common by the Episcopal Church, and prayer is to be common, as in plain, everyday, ordinary language for daily conversations with God. Sometimes prayer is like poetry, elevating our imaginations as we express our thanks and praise, our needs and worries. You can find this prayer at the bottom of this page or in the BCP on page 836. We will use it in our Thanksgiving worship.

The prayer thanks God for the blessing of family and friends, and the loving care that surrounds us on every side. As I pray for them, my heart is drawn closer to siblings and friends who live far away. I remember the friends and family here and the loving care that surrounds me daily as I serve alongside you at Christ Church. The love of God comes through our mutual ministry, and I am filled with gratitude.

The genius in this formal prayer comes as we thank God for the disappointments and failures of our lives. What? Give thanks for messing up? Yes, says Charlie Price, for by my failure I can learn to acknowledge my dependence on God alone. Every aspect of my life and every choice I make can proclaim my faith in God through Christ Jesus - the wise judgments and right actions as well as the mistakes and humiliations. I am thankful that even my faults and failures can lead me back home to the fullness of God's loving power.

Join me in giving thanks to God, "whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine." Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

A General Thanksgiving, Book of Common Prayer 836

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

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