November 2019

Dear Friends,

In just a few weeks we will gather to give God thanks for the bountiful harvest.

An attitude of gratitude is central to Christian worship and life. Our Eucharistic prayer begins, “It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you….” And continues, “God of all power, ruler of the universe, you are worthy of glory and praise.” The part of the Communion service where we sanctify the bread and wine and then receive it is titled “The Great Thanksgiving.” We gather on Sundays to learn, and to pray for our needs, but most of all we gather to thank God for so many blessings.

In the Psalms, in Prophets, and in Job, "The creation is depicted as responding with praise for its Creator. In Psalm 148, all of the elements are called upon to give praise—sun and moon, fire and hail, snow and frost, “creeping things and flying fowl.” It is said that at the coming of the Lord, the morning stars sing together (Job 38:7), the mountains skip like rams (Ps. 114:4), and all the trees of the field clap their hands (Is. 56:12). We who can give human voice to our gratitude are also called upon to give thanks for God's wonderful gifts in creation (Ps. 148:11-13)."[1]

There are not very many things we can do directly for the God of all creation. It is true that we can obey the commandments. We can serve God as we serve the poor, the sick and those in other need or trouble. But when it comes to returning anything directly to God, our options are limited.

A sacrifice of praise and thanksgivings is the only sacrifice that God desires. But this one thing God does want, and it is something that we can do directly for God. It is for this that we gather every Sunday morning. We come not so much for our own benefit, for God is with us always. We come rather to offer up the sacrifice our God desires, to give thanks and praise for all of the ways God blesses us, heals us, and provides for us.

As we gather for Thanksgiving feasts, let us thank God for our bountiful blessings. As the hymn says, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise God all creatures here below; praise God above ye heavenly host: Creator, Son, and Holy Ghost."[2]


The Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Harries

1 A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding Prepared for Study in Congregations, by The Committee on Science, Technology and Faith of The Executive Council The Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

[2] The Hymnal 1982, Hymn 380.