Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed."
this the end, or is it just the beginning? For many people, Harvest
Thanksgiving is a holiday that marks the end of a season. It is time to
think about the end of the growing season and getting the vegetables out
of the garden. It is time to put up preserves after the summer, time to
close up the camp or cottage for the winter. However, the Thanksgiving
weekend is a bench mark for both the end and new beginnings. Thanksgiving
is usually the first holiday of the new school year. Church organizations
and programs are up and running by Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving finds people
once again ensconced in their regular pattern of activities at school,
work, and church. All moments of thanksgiving, in fact, have the sense of
the cyclical, a turning of the wheel of time, about them. To give thanks
is to embrace what has been given and to ponder that which is to come. The
harvest is gathered from the field with gladness and rejoicing; but the
empty fields lay in stark anticipation of the spring planting to come.
psalmist applied this kind of insight to Godís dealings with His people:
they said among the nations,
Lord has done great things for them"
Lord has done great things for us,
we are glad indeed.
our fortunes, O Lord
the water courses of the Negev. --Ps. 126:3-5 (B.A.S.)
writer of Psalm 126 offers up a prayer that is both thankful and hopeful
even in the midst of anxiety and concern. Foreign nations are reminded
that the people of God once enjoyed a time of providence. A faithful
people long for God to restore their national fortunes, to bring back
times of justice, peace, and prosperity. The past is recalled with
thanksgiving, and with an eye to a hopeful future. As surely as a dry and
arid land are renewed with rain each season, so will the future be marked
by renewed relationship with God.
up prayers of thanksgiving to God is one of the hall marks of a healthy
spiritual life. It connects our past and our present with Godís future
for us. There is a lovely Thanksgiving litany in the B.A.S. (p.128) which
allows us to connect the cosmic dots of our life as people of God. It bids
us pray for "the beauty and wonder of creation, for our daily
food, for our homes and families and friends, for health, strength, and
skill to work and for leisure to rest and play, for those who are brave
and courageous, patient in suffering and faithful in adversity, for all
who pursue peace, justice, and truth, for all the saints whose lives have
reflected the light of Christ." Every time we gather for
worship, but especially at Thanksgiving time, our worship should allow us
to recall the blessings of our life and look to the days ahead with a
resounding "We thank you, Lord".
Rev. Canon Rod Gillis Harvest, 2004