Thursday, November 22, 2012
O GOD, YOU HAVE NO NEED OF OUR THANKSGIVING, BUT OUR ABILITY TO GIVE THANKS IS ITSELF YOUR GIFT!
Mulberry Street United Methodist Church
Saint Joseph Catholic Church
Temple Beth Israel
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ONE AND ALL!
The following is the opening paragraph and closing paragraph of my homily for our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday. It was my turn to preach at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church. Temple Beth Israel and Saint Joseph Church have been doing this since about 1966! Thanksgiving is America's ability to acknowledge our thankfulness to God and transcends the divisions in belief in our country. It is secular religion at its best!
In Judaism, a benediction (expression of praise or thanks directed to God) that is recited at specific points of the synagogue liturgy, during private prayer, or on other occasions (e.g., before performing a commandment or for being spared from harm in the face of danger). Most berakoth begin with the words Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam ("Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe"). Those of us in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church would say in Latin as we prepare the bread and wine for the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, that we call the Holy Eucharist, “Benedictus es, Domine, Deus universi!” Our great prayer of Thanksgiving in the Most Holy Eucharist begins our BERAKAH, as we remember God’s intervention in our human, salvation history to save us from the harm of sin and death. In fact during our Christian Berakah, as the wonders of God are told, we cannot hold back our joy and we sing aloud, “Wow, wow, wow! What a wonderful God we have!” But rather than in the colloquialism of Wow, Wow, Wow, we use our actual ritual language of the Mass, which in Latin is Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth, or in English, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts.”
...I would like to make Rev. Paul Griffin’s final words in his talk on Thanksgiving my own:
[On Thanksgiving Day] “We Americans will once again gather around tables of food with family and friends to recall the tremendous blessings that God has freely bestowed upon us and our country. This is a beautiful tradition of which we are justly proud. However, the[ mature people of faith] know that every day of our lives is a gift from God worthy of thanks, and that each passing day provides us with the opportunity to thank Him with grateful hearts which reflect His love within our world.”
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam!
Benedictus es, Domine, Deus universi!
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation!