“Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!”
(verse 2, “Now Thank We All Our God,” by Martin Rinkart)
Holy and loving God, in this season where those in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, we remember seed time and harvest, bounty and want, “all the ills in this world and the next.” Yet in the middle of all that makes us “perplexed” we come to You in prayer, with grateful hearts.
Along the migrant caravan trails – crossing through Mexico from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador -we give thanks for the acts of kindness among ordinary citizens who share from their widow’s mite: food, blessing, care.
From the fire-ravaged towns of California, U.S., and flood and landslide-swept path of Typhoon Yutu in the Philippines, the we give thanks for the heroism of firefighters, first responders, search and rescue teams, and medical staff in the long work of protecting and healing. Your “peace which passeth all understanding” includes wiping away all tears of those who have perished, all who grieve. Thank you for hope itself, when all seems beyond hope.
Within the heartache of hate-filled violence in the U.S. against Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh and college students in Thousand Oaks, amidst the terror with which Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh face the idea of forced repatriation to Myanmar (possibly beginning as early as this week), we find gratitude for such outpouring of love from mourners, families and people of all faith. Bind us together with such strength that the perpetrators of hate will tremble, bow down, and be resurrected in love.
In remembrances of the first World War to end all wars, we give thanks for stories of sacrifice in the face of war, and determination after. May our Prince of Peace yet find a home in the hearts of all. We give thanks for acts of courage and conscience that still seek to turn swords into ploughshares.
Around our own Thanksgiving tables, filled with aromas of abundance, may we smell the cooking fires of refugee camps across the world. We give thanks for aid workers and charities and missionaries who welcome those who have been abandoned, targeted or turned out. Like Jesus with the 5,000, may gratitude for what is too meagre turn into a miracle of more than enough.
Holy God, from Your house to ours, from our house across the world, we receive the gift of love, and determine to share it in word and deed, gratefully.