Here’s my Thanksgiving prayer. If anything in it leads you into your own prayer, you have my permission to stop listening to the sermon and go where prayer takes you.
Good and gracious God, I thank you that I am not a wandering Aramean. At the same time, I thank you that my ancestors were. I cannot begin to imagine the hardship they faced, the days of wondering if it was worth it or whether it would just be better to lie down and die. I thank you that they remained faithful followers of yours, trusting that the Lord their God was there always.
I thank you, too, that I did not have to find my way through the wilderness of this country when it was settled. I wonder sometimes what made people move off the coastlands and start walking towards the mountains. Thank you for those who had the zeal for exploration. I know that I can live here between the Cumberland Plateau and the Smokies because people living many years before me made it possible.
And thank you for the circuit riders and family Bibles, the tent meetings and riverside baptisms. As much as I love my mostly proper Episcopal Church, I am truly thankful for all of the men and women that made sure wherever they went on this huge continent, you went with them.
Thank you, God, that I got to make the decision to follow your loving Son after the crucifixion/resurrection. I confess that I wonder sometimes if I would have done what the crowd did and allowed myself to be swayed from Hosanna to Crucify. I am most thankful to have been spared that particular temptation.
You see, God, I don’t think I have what it takes to be a wanderer or to settle land that doesn’t look like it would support any crop other than more trees and rocks. I’m not sure I would remember to be faithful in prayer and reading of Scripture and tradition if I didn’t have a church community to worship with me. And I see so many people who, when confronted with adversity, turn away from you. It isn’t that I have lived a charmed life with no difficult decisions or times when I have felt alone. There have been plenty of those and I suspect there are more of those times in store before I leave this mortal coil. But all of those who have walked with you before I ever came to be and those who taught me to walk with you and with them have made it possible for me to give you thanks even when I cannot see the light anywhere. And thanks for those who taught me to walk this Way.
So, on the eve of the day which we set aside to be thankful, I want to give you thanks especially for your peace. It really is beyond all understanding and I like that about it. I am a better person knowing that your peace guards my heart and my mind in Christ. May I keep on doing the things you have given me to do and may others come to walk with you because you walk with me.