Words of Thanksgiving

This is an updated and revised version of the previously published “Thanksgiving Prayer,” with additional material inspired by Matthew Fox.
A Dedication by Hugo Barros

“A Dedication” by Hugo Barros

We are reminded by Meister Eckhart that the word “humility” has its roots in the latin humus, or earth. To be humble, then, means to be in touch with the earth, in touch with our own earthiness, and to celebrate the blessing of our own earthiness and sensitive nature or sensuality. And to deny our earthiness is to bottle up the deep, divine energies of creativity and imagination within us all.

Hildegarde of Bingen wrote, “Holy persons draw to themselves all that is earthly … The earth is at the same time mother, She is mother of all that is natural, mother of all that is human. She is the mother of all, for contained in her are the seeds of all.”

Thanksgiving – by the sheer nature of its name – forces us to face, acknowledge and speak to Spirit in the second person, to thank the “thou” that is the Cosmos, or the Cosmos that is the “thou” – the ultimate Other, Father God, Mother Nature, our Creator, the Holy Spirit.

On this one day a year, even atheists are thankful to their lucky stars, fate, Nature, or the Universe for granting them good fortune and helping to guide them through the signposts of life.

On this one day a year, we open our hearts, we mind our manners, and to whomever (or whatever) we love – or that loves us – we say, simply, “Thank You.”

On this day, as millions gather and hold hands around tables large and small for a shared meal to acknowledge this sense of gratitude and to celebrate with a ceremonial feast, we offer this prayer, honoring Spirit in second person:

We gather to give thanks for all the things we sometimes take for granted.

Our bodies – perfect and beautiful at whatever stage they are at.
Our minds – open and receptive to compassion and understanding.
Our health and well-being.
The health and well-being of our families.
The love and support of our family and friends.
The interconnected community in which we live and thrive.
All of this year’s unfolding and new growth.
All of our milestones and victories and success.
As well as the loss and obstacles we’ve overcome and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

On this day, we are thankful just for the ability to spend time together around the table for a moment, face to face, without the illuminated distractions of our phones and screens.

We are thankful to be in the presence of family — to love and be loved.

We are thankful for the resource of Spirit in our lives.
For our faith that allows us confidence, comfort and resolve in the face of ignorance, suffering, attachment and those inevitable dark nights.
For the teachings of the masters and the great wisdom traditions.
For the teachers themselves, and what is surely one of the highest of callings.

We are also grateful.
We are grateful for our ability to give to those less fortunate.
We are grateful to those serving our country and to those active in the work of building or rebuilding here and around the world.
To those that have passed on and are unable to be with us today, but from whom we have learned so much.
And to our children and descendants, who enable us to transcend the limitations of space and time.

We also ask for blessings.
Bless the hands that harvest and prepare our Thanksgiving meal.
Bless any animals who have given their lives for it.
Bless the Earth from which it came.
And bless us as we receive it.

Bless us as we celebrate with the gifts of language, art and music.
Bless us with renewed strength to navigate this world mindfully, sustainably and peacefully.
That we may be both a beacon and a compass to those in need of an example.

We ask for your Original Blessing.
That we may continue to be blessed with fruitfulness and multiplicity.

And, finally, thank you.
Thank you for the ability to learn and love and laugh and grow.
Thank you for the opportunity to be in the world and to create change in the world, here and now, simply by changing ourselves.

Thank you for life and for this joyful act of living.


About Joran Slane Oppelt

Author, Musician, Interfaith Minister, Chaplain, Public Speaker, Event Producer, Marketing Professional, Husband, Father - Not necessarily in that order. Follow me on Twitter @joranslane. View all posts by Joran Slane Oppelt

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