Archives For Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving Day Prayer
Walter Rauschenbusch

[ Download a FREE ebook of
Rauschenbusch’s A Theology for the Social Gospel ]


Walter RauschenbuschO God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
Walter Rauschenbusch image via WikiMedia Commons…

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Top Ten Books on Cultivating Gratitude
ERB Playlist #4
Compiled by Chris Smith

This is the fourth in an on-going series of “playlists,” in which we recommend books around a particular theme.

“Making a mixtape (or playlist) is the opposite of indifferent. It’s heartfelt, purposeful — often a subtle form of flirtation. … [The playlist] is a way of making yourself known, an interpersonal form of show business, of making news, of replicating sounds and words you find important. It’s like poetry, because poetry is what you can’t say in any other way.”
– David Dark, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything
(Our 2009 Book of the Year. Read our Review…)


*** A Recent essay by ERB editor Chris Smith on a theology of the playlist

[ Previous Playlist – #3 Top Ten Books that Every Pastor Should Read ]


*** Watch for more ERB playlists in the coming weeks and months…

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming later this week, we offer the following list of books on cultivating gratitude…


Top Ten Books on Cultivating GratitudeLiving into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us by Christine Pohl (Eerdmans 2012)  [ Buy now:  Amazon // Kindle ]
Although this book is not exclusively on gratitude, Pohl does begin with the virtue of gratitude and shows how it is interwoven with the virtues of making and keeping promises, truth-telling and hospitality.  This book is at the top of the list because it locates the church community as the place where we cultivate gratitude and is especially helpful in working through the challenges of doing so in a consumer society. [ Read an excerpt of this book… ]


The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block. (B-K Publishers 2010) [ Buy now:  Amazon // Kindle ]
For us here at Englewood Christian Church, one of the most powerful practices of gratitude is our journey of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD).  There are a number of John McKnight’s books that one could read to be introduced to ABCD and its deep roots in gratitude, but The Abundant Community is probably the most accessible; it stirs our imaginations with the possibilities of what it might mean to really be grateful for our neighbors and to seek an abundant and flourishing community together with them.


One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp (Zondervan 2011) [ Buy now: Amazon // Kindle ]
This volume is an exquisitely written call to embody a life of everyday gratitude.  Our reviewer Zena Neds-Fox notes: “Ann’s writing reads like letters from a poet or a priest.  She is caught up in the world where God is expressing love through the gifts which show her he can be counted upon.  There is a section where she describes contemplating a soap bubble while washing dishes.  I read with marvel as she over and over finds another way to express God’s truth and reality’s frailty and beauty here.  Ann is able to find Jesus in ten thousand places and has gifted us all with a window into a different kind of living.”
[ Read the full review ]



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A Thanksgiving Poem
Paul Laurence Dunbar

The sun hath shed its kindly light,
Our harvesting is gladly o’er,
Our fields have felt no killing blight,
Our bins are filled with goodly store.

From pestilence, fire, ‘flood, and sword
We have been spared by thy decree,
And now with humble hearts, O Lord,
We come to pay our thanks to thee.

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The Power of Gratitude
A Thanksgiving Reflection

By Greg Paul
Author of Close Enough to Hear God Breathe

The figures at the far end of the city park I was about to enter, lurking just outside the bright cone of a streetlight, had the hulking, rounded look acquired by homeless people wearing many layers of clothing. I assumed I would know the two people, and so personal safety never crossed my mind – I’m a pastor and member of the Sanctuary community, which makes a particular point of embracing people who are, as we say, “street-involved”. In other words, most of the “bad guys” are my friends. As it turned out, these two were men I have known for years. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that we love each other like brothers – brothers in a large, fractious, family where addictions and violence are too common.

We stood there in the cold dark bantering about nothing in particular. My pals were sober and at ease. They weren’t in a rush to be anywhere else; that little park was, in effect, their living room, and apart from some of the more colorful expressions, the tenor of the conversation was pretty much what you’d hear at a neighborhood dinner party.

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“What is Enough”
Maureen Doallas

(from the new collection:
Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems by Maureen Doallas,
from TS Poetry Press)

Blessed are they who are thankful,
for they show us what is enough.

Legs twig-thinned, toes splayed,
you balance crumbed morsel
nit-picked ground to beak

and wait on
no more

blessing with skittered trillings
the handout
of a hand out.

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My Triumph
John Greenleaf Whittier

The autumn-time has come;
On woods that dream of bloom,
And over purpling vines,
The low sun fainter shines.

The aster-flower is failing,
The hazel’s gold is paling;
Yet overhead more near
The eternal stars appear!

And present gratitude
Insures the future’s good,
And for the things I see
I trust the things to be;

That in the paths untrod,
And the long days of God,
My feet shall still be led,
My heart be comforted.

O living friends who love me!
O dear ones gone above me!
Careless of other fame,
I leave to you my name.

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Two striking Thanksgiving prayers from THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER:

“A Litany of Thanksgiving”

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends,
We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

“Thanksgiving for the Harvest”

Most gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up and the clouds drop down the dew: We yield thee hearty thanks and praise for the return of seed time and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of its fruits, and for all other blessings of thy merciful providence bestowed upon this nation and people. And, we beseech thee, give us a just sense of these great mercies, such as may appear in our lives by a humble, holy, and obedient walking before thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost be all glory and honor, world without end. Amen.