Fresh air to breathe, cool water to drink, the taste of food, the protection of houses and clothes, the comforts of home.
For these, we make an act of Thanksgiving this day!
We bring to mind all the warmth of humankind that we have known:
Our mother’s arms, the strength of our fathers,
The playmates of our childhood, the wonderful stories brought to
us from the lives of many who talked of days gone by when princesses and giants and all kinds of mystery held sway.
The tears that we have shed, the tears we have seen; the
excitement of laughter and the twinkle in the eye … with its
reminder that life is good. For all these we make an act of
Thanksgiving this day.
We finger one by one the messages of hope that awaited us at the
crossroads: The smile of approval from those who held in their
hands the reins of our security;
The tightening of the grip in a single handshake when we feared the step before us in the darkness; the whisper in our heart when the temptation was the fiercest and the claims of appetite were not to be denied.
The crucial word said, the simple sentence from an open page
when our decision hung in the balance. For all these we make
an act of Thanksgiving this day.
We pass before us the mainsprings of our heritage: The fruits of
the labors of countless generations who lived before us, without
whom our own lives would have no meaning.
The seers who saw visions and dreamed dreams; The prophets who
sensed a truth greater than the mind could grasp and whose words
could only find fulfillment in the years which they could never see.
The workers whose sweat has watered the trees, the leaves of
which are for the healing of nations;
The pilgrims who set their sails for lands beyond all horizons, whose courage made paths into new worlds and far-off places;
The saints whose blood was shed with a recklessness that only a
dream could inspire and God could command; for all this we
make an act of Thanksgiving this day.
We linger over the meaning of our own lives and the commitments
to which we give the loyalty of our hearts and minds:
The little purposes in which we have shared our love, our desires,
our gifts. The restlessness which bottoms all which we do with its
stark insistence that, we have never dared reach for the highest;
The big hope that never quite deserts us. That we and our kind
will study war no more, that love and tenderness and all the
inner graces of Almighty affection will cover the life of the
children of God as the waters cover the sea.
All these and more than mind can think and heart can feel, we make as our Sacrament of Thanksgiving to Thee, Our Gracious God, in humbleness of mind and simplicity of heart. Amen.
– Adapted from the works of Howard Thurman