Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. ~ Collect for Thanksgiving Day
That prayer captures the sacred and divine nature of what we will celebrate on Thanksgiving Day here in the US. It is a day where we celebrate with family, with friends; we gather often with a huge meal – a festive celebration. It’s not simply to gather and to celebrate what we have, but to extend the table to others, to share with all those in need. It’s not enough just to say, “Who’s at my table? Who am I kin to?” But to ask the deeper question, of thanksgiving and gratitude for all – for those who maybe are in need, and who are in need of what we have, and to share that.
I hope next week as you gather that you will give thanks for the year that has passed and for the year that is ahead. Give thanks for the goodness around you, but also ask that question of, “Who might be in need?” Who might need your assistance, who might need your care, your advocacy, your heart and relationship? I hope this time of Thanksgiving will be a chance that we remember as the Episcopal Church we are a people who share. We share resources, we share the Gospel and we share in ministry together. We are a people of Thanksgiving, not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day.
Blessing to you and to your family, and to the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee.