"Waybread" is food designed to strengthen travelers on a long journey. This little weekly column is intended to offer reflections that will strengthen and encourage you in your own long journey in following Christ.
SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR!
In the spirit of wanting this newsletter to be an encouragement to you all, I'm especially mindful this Thanksgiving of how much (how MUCH!) we have to be thankful for–even the most challenged among us. It seems to me that half the spiritual battle we wage has to do with simply being mindful of our gifts, especially when so much of life draws our focus to the trouble both within and around us. We all have suffered loss and need (to different extents, to be sure), but one of the great spiritual habits we all need to cultivate is gratitude. The most well-known of Bible characters were always people of few means when God first called them. Regardless how their circumstances changed over the years, they always had an obligation to gratitude–and we're no different.
It seems to me that half the spiritual battle we wage has to do with simply being mindful of our gifts...
With that said, all I want to do this week is share with you some prayerful encouragements to help us call to mind particular areas we might want to remember or invite God (back?) into. So let's set our hearts to remembrance and thanksgiving. Following are psalms and prayers I hope you'll find time to say in your own heart, and perhaps share with your family and friends on Thursday.
"O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and show ourselves glad in him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God; and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are all the corners of the earth; and the strength of the hills is his also.
The sea is his, and he made it; and his hands prepared the dry land.
O come, let us worship and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is the Lord our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness;
When your fathers tempted me, and put me to the proof, and saw my works.
Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said,
It is a people that do err in their hearts, for they have not known my ways:
Unto whom I swore in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest."
~Coverdale Psalms, Book of Common Prayer (2019)
The following can be found in The Book of Common Prayer (2019):
A THANKSGIVING PRAYER
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 that demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments that 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 conquered 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.
FOR THE HARVEST
Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew: We yield you hearty thanks and praise for the return of seed-time and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of its fruits, and for all the other blessings your merciful providence has bestowed upon this nation and people. And, we pray, give us a just sense of these great mercies, that we may walk before you in humility, holiness, and obedience all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all glory and honor, world without end. Amen.
FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH
We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the wonder of your creatures, large and small; and for all the loveliness that surrounds us. We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever. Amen.
The following short prayers can be found in Every Moment Holy, Vol. 1, by Douglas Kaine McKelvey:
UPON TASTING PLEASURABLE FOOD
For the infinite variety of Your creative expression,
I praise You, O God. You have made
even the necessary act of eating
a nurturing comfort and
a perpetual delight.
UPON EXPERIENCING CHEERING LAUGHTER
I praise You, O God, for these
inexplicable gifts of mirth
and merriment and laughter,
delighting in such foretaste
of the wellsprings of eternal joy
that ever bubble and flow
within your glad Trinity.
UPON RANDOMLY THINKING OF ANOTHER PERSON
God, as I hold ___________________
a moment in my thoughts,
I ask that You would hold them
eternally in Yours,
remaining ever at work
in their heart and life,
even now directing their path
toward Your good ends.
UPON HEARING BIRDSONG
[A rarity this time of year, but all the same!]
You draw praise
from the frailest of things.
So also draw praise
I hope with all my heart that you will find some worthy thing to fix your mind and heart upon in these brief little prayers, and that your praise will be drawn to their praiseworthy Creator. Happy Thanksgiving!
Be encouraged, friend, for God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, who spoke all worlds into being, is both with you and for you.