…will you be the one who will be gracious and promise kindness.
Here at East Brentwood Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN, we have cooked up a little Thanksgiving podcast and blog to be a resource to you as you face the upcoming holiday. Listen to John -the pastor of wise and many words - and Nate - the man of few words but master when it comes to the musical note - as they bring you music to enjoy and some advice to how to approach Thanksgiving whether your Thanksgiving will be a quiet one or a crazy, busy time of preparation. There is even advice on what to do about crazy Uncle Jack who may be sitting around your Thanksgiving table!
As with years past, we have assembled an assortment of table blessings that you might find useful as well as a wonderful poem by John O’Donahue called For Love in a Time of Conflict that we think is especially appropriate at this time. In this season of gratitude and on Thanksgiving Day, it is our prayer that your eyes will be open to the bounty of gifts, unmerited, that are all around us. We pray that this week will bring peace to our world, our country, and our homes. At Thanksgiving and throughout the upcoming season, “may everything good from God be yours!” (1 Peter 1:2, the Message).
For Love In a Time of Conflict
When the gentleness between you hardens
And you fall out of your belonging with each other,
May the depths you have reached hold you still.
When no true word can be said, or heard,
And you mirror each other in the script of hurt,
When even the silence has become raw and torn,
May you hear again an echo of your first music.
When the weave of affection starts to unravel
And anger begins to sear the ground between you,
Before this weather of grief invites
The black seed of bitterness to find root,
May your souls come to kiss.
Now is the time for one of you to be gracious,
To allow a kindness beyond thought and hurt,
Reach out with sure hands
To take the chalice of your love,
And carry it carefully through this echoless waste
Until this winter pilgrimage leads you
Towards the gateway to spring.
By John O’Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us(New York: Doubleday, 2008)
If the only prayer you ever say in your life is thank you it will be enough.
-- Meister Eckhart
Come, Lord Jesus our guest to be
bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved
and keep them in Your
loving care. - Moravian Blessing
A Thanksgiving Psalm (Psalm 100)
On your feet now—applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.
Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re his people, his well-tended sheep.
Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.
- Eugene Peterson’s The Message Bible
If you are looking for a ritual to consider, here is one we did at our thanksgiving table when our children were young:
Take a loaf of bread and pass it around the table. Invite the children and adults at the table to tear off a piece and list one thing they are thankful for (e.g. good health, the love of one another, pets, those people who are away from their families on this day doing the hard work to make sure we are safe, etc.) The host may want to have think about what it may be before the bread is passed so you can move through this ritual quickly before the food gets cold. With wine or drink add a toast and a prayer and Voila!
Here is another prayer:
Thank You, thank You, thank You, generous God! You have injected life with joy, thus we know laughter. You have dabbed creation with color, thus we enjoy beauty. You have whistled a divine tune into the rhythm of life, thus we hear music. You have filled our minds with questions, thus we appreciate mystery. You have entered our hearts with compassion, thus we experience faith. Thank You, God, Thank You. Thank You!
-C. Welton Gaddy