Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving | The Rev. Peter J. Van Hook

You have heard me say that I try to live a life of thanksgiving. The short version of the story is that I realized, in a time of some personal crisis, that thanksgiving was a consistent element that had been missing from my life. I undertook a discipline of giving thanks that I follow to this day.
Of course, one might say, that thanksgiving is supposed to be a mark of a Christian. Yes. However, how often do we find ourselves trapped by guilt or sorrow or fear and forget to give thanks? Our Sunday worship should never be anything less than a joyous occasion of thanksgiving—that’s what the word eucharist means—that allows us to give thanks, even in the midst of international crises like Ebola or ISIS, even as we follow the trajectory of events from Ferguson, Missouri, even as we live with unemployment, ill health, or death.

There are several prayers of thanksgiving in The Book of Common Prayer. The most familiar is the one that concludes Morning or Evening Prayer. There is a collection of thanksgivings in the BCP that begins on page 836. My favorite is the first one, “A General Thanksgiving.” It begins, “Accept, O Lord, our praise and thanks for all that you have done for us.” That is not a bad mantra or repeated prayer. It is a great way to begin or close a day. It might be a good thing to write on a slip of paper and keep in your wallet or purse.What are you thankful for? How do you remember to be thankful? And, how do you express thanksgiving in your life?

Note: before the section of thanksgivings is a small collection of graces—thanksgivings—to be used before meals. Consider using any of these as you gather to give thanks this week.

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