Spirit Alive: The Sacrament of Thanksgiving
Spirit Alive is a twice a month blog that looks at different aspects of mission and ministry throughout the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference and beyond.
November 28, 2017
Food for the Soul:
Grounding One's Life in a Spirit of Thanksgiving"The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring."
James Joyce, Ulysses
Those who know me well, know that I have been influenced deeply by the life and teachings of Dr. Howard Thurman, who was a professor of theology at Howard University, was the Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University, was the co-founder and lead pastor of the first inter-racial, inter-religious church in America called the Church for the Fellowship of All People in San Francisco, and was the spiritual guide for countless individuals around the world.
Born in 1900, Dr. Thurman was the grandson of slaves, but he was also a pastor, educator,
In his book, The Search for Common Ground, Thurman wrote: "I have always wanted to be me without making it difficult for you to be you."
As Thanksgiving week turns toward Advent, I'd like to share one of my favorite Howard Thurman prayers. It appears in his book entitled Meditations of the Heart, and is called "A Litany of Thanksgiving":
My mother's arms,
The strength of my father,
The playmates of my childhood,
The wonderful stories brought to me from the lives of many who talked of days gone by when fairies and giants and all kinds of magic held sway:
The tears I have shed, the tears I have seen;
For all these I make an act of Thanksgiving this day.
I pass before me the mainsprings of my heritage:
The fruits of the labors of countless generations who lived before me, without whom my own life would have no meaning;
The seers who saw visions and dreamed dreams;
The prophets who sensed a truth greater than the mind could grasp and whose words could only find fulfillment in the years which they would never see;
The workers whose sweat has watered the trees, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations;
The pilgrims who set their sails for lands beyond all horizons, whose courage made paths into new worlds and far-off places;
The saviors whose blood was shed with a recklessness that only a dream could inspire and God could command.
For all this I make an act of Thanksgiving this day.
All these and more than mind can think and heart can feel, I make as my sacrament of Thanksgiving to Thee,
Our Father, in humbleness of mind and simplicity of heart.
May these words from Howard Thurman ground our spirits and guide our journeys as we enter into the Advent Season.
Let us walk in the light of God's love,
Spirit Alive is a twice a month blog and email by Rev. Lowell Greathouse, Mission and Ministry Coordinator for the Oregon-Idaho Conference. It seeks to identify where the spirit is alive in our congregations and communities. Check out past editions, or subscribe to the email list.