Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Prayer

O God of all Creation: You have cared for the earth, and have filled it with your riches. Abundance flows in your steppes, through the pastures and wilderness. You provide for our land, softening it with showers, bathing it in light, and blessing it with growth.

The hills sing with joy; the meadows are covered with flocks; the fields deck themselves with wheat; and together they glorify your name!

On this occasion of our Thanksgiving, we as a nation take rest from our labors to consider your many blessings. We thank you for our freedoms, and for the opportunity to contribute our skills, our attributes and our values toward the good of society.

We thank you for the mixture of our cultures, blending us into one people under God. Help us to be a light unto other nations, and to further the cause of freedom and justice all over the world.

We remember those who are less fortunate than we. We lift up in prayer the victims of poverty and racism, and all those who suffer from forms of political and economic oppression. Let the word that goes forth from our mouths speak of your peace, and let us proclaim our hope in Christ as Savior of all humankind.

We pray that you will bless all those who gather here, as we have come to experience your presence among us. Give us your guidance, O God, and empower us for your work. For we claim nothing for ourselves, but return all honor and glory unto you, and offer our thanks and praise. Amen.

From "Prayers for God's People"
Thomas P. Roberts, editor

A Bit More Serious

Here is a thoughtful poem with which I will close out my Thanksgiving sermon. It always gives me pause and reminds me to count all my blessings.

I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life to enjoy all things.

I got nothing I asked for,
But everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

-Unknown Confederate Soldier

Thanksgiving Table Manners

Here's a goofy video from the 50s on table manners. I think I saw this once in grade school. (Although all those black and white films blend into a blur.)

I think the Pilgrims had good table manners.

Enjoy (with a large cup of coffee).

Friday, November 21, 2008


It was a wonderful experience for me to teach a class at Redeemer (following our Reformation class) about the Reformation moving to North America. Specifically, we looked at the colony of Jamestown (Church of England) and Plymouth (Pilgrims, who were Calvinist separatists).

What made researching and presenting enjoyable for me was the opportunity to delve into the lives of extraordinary men and women (English and Indians) who had such a profound and lasting effect on this country. It was amazing to read about people like William Bradford who endured so much to live out their faith. In researching these people they came alive and I discovered (again) that the reality is much more profound than the myth.

Some suggested reading:
Mayflower, by Nathaniel Philbrick
A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America, by James Horn

An excerpt from Mayflower:

"For sixty-five days the Mayflower had blundered her way through storms and headwinds, her bottom a shaggy pelt of seaweed and barnacles, her leaky decks spewing salt water onto her passenger's devoted heads. There were 102 of them - 104 if you counted the two dogs: a spaniel, and a giant, slobbery mastiff."