Hodu l’Adonai ki tov, ki la’olam chasdo, “Give thanks to Adonai for He is good, for His mercy is everlasting.”
On behalf of the staff, vestry, and finance committee, thank you for your faithful support of this parish and the work of God in the world, both nearby and far away. Your pledge of time, talent, and treasure is vital to the vision of our parish to boldly engage the world as God’s shepherds, to share our blessings, and to work with God toward creating Heaven on Earth one person at a time. As we look toward the Thanksgiving Holiday, we should be reminded of the many reasons we have for giving thanks to God and we should be mindful of how we should respond to show our gratitude.
The scriptures provide plenty of examples of the people of God offering their thanksgiving—in response to being blessed Abraham gave one-tenth of all his possessions to the priest Melchizedek; in response to his salvation Zacchaeus gave half of what he owned to the poor; the blind man restored followed Jesus and praised God — and the Psalms tell us that thanksgiving has been a central part of worship from ancient times. For Episcopalians, thanksgiving is also a central part of our worship, not only in our use of the psalms and the offering of our gifts, but in the celebration of Eucharistic, a Greek word meaning thanksgiving.
In Luke’s telling of the Last Supper we read that Jesus gave thanks involving two cups with a thanksgiving involving bread in the middle: cup-bread-cup. This is in the manner of Jewish meal prayers where it is neither the contents of the cup nor the bread, but it is God who is blessed. Words like these may have been used, “Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.” “Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.” You might try this at your Thanksgiving table this year.
Just for fun — The Hebrew word above translated as “Give thanks” is “hodu.” That is also found in the Hebrew word for the bird we call a turkey. “Hag Hahodaya,” literally the “the chicken of India” and you probably recall, India is where Columbus thought he was headed when he sailed west and started the chain of events that led to the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621.
I thank God for you and for God’s faithfulness working through you. Give thanks to the Lord.