Mainline Protestant Channel
God's Harvest for All: A Thanksgiving Reflection
Yes! If the only prayer you make is "thank you," that will be enough. And, "thank you" can be said over and over again not just to God for the blessings of this day, but to everyone whose life touches yours in a creative way. Such gratitude opens us to new blessings, but more importantly opens our hands to bless others -- through a kind word as well as our time, talent, and treasure.
It has been noted that wealth and poverty are both attitudinal and behavioral. Many Americans cry "poor" despite their apparent material and economic abundance. There never is enough money, despite their largesse, and they begrudge taxes to support schools, healthcare, and community services. Hunger, like poverty, is behavioral and the result of choices -- we can live by scarcity when there really is enough food to go around if we act wisely both in distribution and in the creation of economic infrastructures that encourage justice, responsibility, and initiative. We can sustain the earth by living wisely and thinking abundantly.
One of my favorite sayings comes from the late United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold:
For all that has been -- thanks!
For all that will be -- yes!
Gratitude is the gift of "yes" -- yes to life, yes to blessing, yes to God, yes to possibility, and yes to others. In an interdependent universe, the energy of life is constantly flowing through us, and we are constantly receiving and giving -- gratitude is the awareness that we can shape our lives to bless and heal and love out of the bounty we have received. So, throughout the day give "thanks" -- remember those who have supported you and upon whom you depend today; notice your interchanges with others; and look for the movements of God in every interaction. This is a wonderful life that beckons us to give thanks at every turn.
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, pastor, and author of twenty one books, including Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed, Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living, and The Center is Everywhere: Celtic Spirituality for the Postmodern Age. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for lectures, workshops, and retreats.