Inspiring Generosity


Inspiring Generosity


11/23/2016

3 Thanksgiving Prayers
 

This is what we want for dinner? (via pixabay)

It’s Thanksgiving. Ah, memories of that Norman Rockwell scene. Dozens of relatives! The table loaded with food! People talking over one another! Laughter! Riots!
 
Well, in my house, not so much. I am an only child (I can hear you now...“Oh, that explains a lot.”). With no relatives close by – flying to Scotland for the long weekend was not an option – and a mother who didn't like turkey, we did the next best thing. We went to the movies! Jungle Book. Benji. Gone with the Wind. Patton. Those are my childhood memories of Thanksgiving. Hey, I embrace it.
 
As an adult, I now engage in all things associated with “traditional” Thanksgiving. I still don’t live close to relatives but now we gather neighbors and friends and join together as family. And yes, the table is loaded with food, there’s laughter, and as little rioting as possible.

This Thanksgiving, I offer you three prayers. One is Biblical, one is poetic, and one is visual.

Prayer #1: Philippians 4:4-9 (from the NRSV).
 
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
 
Prayer #2: Diana Bass, “Choose Gratitude” (reprinted with author’s permission).
God, there are days we do not feel grateful. When we are anxious or angry. When we feel alone. When we do not understand what is happening in the world or with our neighbors. When the news is bleak, confusing. God, we struggle to feel grateful.

But this Thanksgiving, we choose gratitude.

We choose to accept life as a gift from you, and as a gift from the unfolding work of all creation.

We choose to be grateful for the earth from which our food comes; for the water that gives life; and for the air we all breathe.

We choose to thank our ancestors, those who came before us, grateful for their stories and struggles, and we receive their wisdom as a continuing gift for today.

We choose to see our families and friends with new eyes, appreciating and accepting them for who they are. We are thankful for our homes, whether humble or grand.

We will be grateful for our neighbors, no matter how they voted, whatever our differences, or how much we feel hurt or misunderstood by them.

We choose to see the whole planet as our shared commons, the stage of the future of humankind and creation.

God, this Thanksgiving, we do not give thanks. We choose it. We will make this choice of thanks with courageous hearts, knowing that it is humbling to say “thank you.” We choose to see your sacred generosity, aware that we live in an infinite circle of gratitude. That we all are guests at a hospitable table around which gifts are passed and received. We will not let anything opposed to love take over this table. Instead, we choose grace, free and unmerited love, the giftedness of life everywhere. In this choosing, and in the making, we will pass gratitude onto the world.

Thus, with you, and with all those gathered at this table, we pledge to make thanks. We ask you to strengthen us in this resolve. Here, now, and into the future. Around our family table. Around the table of our nation. Around the table of the earth.

We choose thanks.

Amen.

#3 A Visual Grace: “Gratitude” by Louie Schwartzberg.
 
 
 
 
May your Thanksgiving be all that you hope it will be. I am grateful and so thankful for you.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She is definitely going to the movies…after Thanksgiving dinner. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
 
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

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