Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

I have much to be thankful for this year: I begin with giving thanks to God for the plenty we enjoy, for my good health and the many adventures and safe travels of this past year. 

I give thanks for the confidence placed in me by the Bishop, people, leaders and staff of St. Paul's Memorial Church in calling me to be their Rector, and most especially for Lori for her support and love in this huge transition. 

I give thanks for my family and my many friends for supporting us, though some have wondered at times at the wisdom of our moving so far. I do miss you greatly. 

I give thanks to the people, leaders and staff of All Souls Parish in Berkeley for their love and support throughout all this. I miss you more than you know. 

I give thanks for our friends at Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento. You are still our home congregation. Thanks for taking us in again this summer. We know we will return again.

I give thanks for the privilege of my work in the California state Senate, and please know, those of you who work there, you are still in my prayers, and you have my thanks for your selfless service. I hope you get a break soon from the onslaught of bad news. 

And let me give thanks to all of you, dear readers, for following my spiritual, theological, semi-political meanderings on this blog and for your comments and encouragement. 

If you can, please join us later today for a Thanksgiving dinner at St. Paul's beginning at 6:15 pm. Lori is cooking the turkeys, I will do some carving, and please bring a side dish. We will also celebrate Thanksgiving at a special Eucharist at 10 a.m. Thursday -- put your turkey in the oven and come join us. I will give a brief homily.

Here are two Thanksgiving blessings to share with you for your grace at the table. The first was sent to me by our dear friend Karen in Tennessee. The second blessing I wrote, based on the famous prayer of Julian of Norwich. I am going to take a few days break from the blog -- so please have a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.

Here are the blessings:

by Rafael Jesus Gonzalez

Thanks & blessings be
to the Sun & the Earth
for this bread & this wine,
this fruit, this meat, this salt,
this food;
thanks be & blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
thanks & blessings to them
who share it
(& also the absent & the dead).
Thanks & Blessing to them who bring it
(may they not want),
to them who plant & tend it,
harvest & gather it
(may they not want);
thanks & blessing to them who work
& blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want - for their hunger
sours the wine & robs
the taste from the salt.
Thanks be for the sustenance & strength
for our dance & work of justice, of peace.

Giving Thanks
Based on a prayer by Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)

Holy and gracious God, we give thanks for the gift of this gathering; for the food before us; the loving hands that have prepared it; and the blessings we share together. Kindle our hearts and awaken hope, that we may know you always as our companion along the way. Forgive us where we have fallen short with each other and with ourselves; heal our wounds, restore our health, strengthen our souls, and help us to be ever mindful the needs of those near us who have so little. Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. Amen.


Janice Dean said...

And, Jim, I give thanks for you and Lori! Thank you for joining our family at St. Paul's; I am so excited about the work you are doing in our parish and about how that work will help me to grow.
Happy Thanksgiving to you & Lori!

Stephanie Bolton said...

Thanks, Jim, for this beautiful blessing. I plan to use it later today... I hope that you and Lori enjoy your first Charlottesville Thanksgiving together. We certainly are all so thankful that you are here!