Up above you can read two prayers for Thanksgiving Day by two different pastors. The Rev. Samuel F. Pugh was editor of World Call, a missions magazine for the Disciples of Christ. Chaplain W.T. Kennedy served in World War II as a Navy Chaplain. Both prayers are important because they place thanksgiving in the context of service. One places that service as service to the poor, the jobless, the homeless, and those who are in suffering. The other one places the prayer of thanksgiving in the context of those who are willing to give their life in order to protect others.
Either way, the prayer of thanksgiving only takes its true shape when it leads us into the service of others. Otherwise, it is too easy for us to slip into the attitude of the rich man who takes a look around and is happy with his life, with his barn, and gives little thought of the future. Thanksgiving for all we have without giving a thought to those who have not is often a prideful self-delusion that convinces us that maybe we deserve all that we have. We do not; it is a gift of grace. But, that grace is meant to be shared outward. By the way, it is not sufficient to think of others, we really need to let our thanksgiving lead us into service.
So, this Thanksgiving, let us think of others. Let us think of our country, and be willing to ask not what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country. Let us think of the poor, those in jail, those who are suffering, and think of what we are called to do in their service. And, yes, let us think of those who have come here and were hired by us and are now only asking that we not toss them out after willingly hiring them. Let us think of their children, many of whom came here so young that they could not go back and successfully live in their countries and ask how we can serve them and give them opportunities. Let us not be found wanting in grace and mercy, lest there be little left over for us.
p align=”justify”>Chaplain Kennedy finishes his prayer saying that , “being blessed of Thee, we may become a blessing to all nations; to the praise of the Glory of Thy Grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.” Let that be our prayer; let that be our thought. How can we be a blessing to others, how may we serve? And with that prayer, let us be thankful and celebrate our Thanksgiving Day.