Someone told me years ago that when you strip away all the stuff, when you move past all poetry and prose, the most honest forms of prayer can be boiled down to please, please, please and thank you, thank you, thank you. We live in a world that is continually torn apart by the destructive forces of greed, pride, anger and war. When we look around, we can be overwhelmed by the massive numbers of God’s children that do not have adequate access to the food, shelter and nurture. We witness the struggles of those on the fringes, and we pray, “Please, please, please God help us alleviate the pain, suffering and hunger.” Those conversations with God compel us to respond. So, we offer time, talent and resources in a variety of ways, such as working at shelters, delivering meals-on-wheels, collecting resources to be dispersed through food assistance programs, providing Thanksgiving baskets and a host of other ways.
One of the traditions my wife’s (Libby’s) family had on Thanksgiving was, before the prayer for the meal was offered, everyone went around the table and shared thanks for some of the blessings in their lives. It is a wonderful practice, and one we have continued in our home. In this season of Thanksgiving, I begin my prayers of thank you, thank you, thank you for the churches and members of the Presbytery of St. Augustine. Without exception, as I have been visiting the churches in this presbytery, I have seen your commitment to serving Christ in your community. I am thankful for a place to lay my head at the end of the day, even though it is not my own. I am thankful for an incredible new friend that God placed in my life. I am thankful for my family, for health, for new beginnings. I believe if we are attentive, when we look around there are just as many reasons for the prayers of thanksgiving as there are for the prayers of petition. What are you thankful for these days? Who are the people, places and things that move you to say thank you, thank you, thank you? How are you expressing thanks to God for the blessings in your life? My hope and prayer is that you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with great food and rich conversation.
Grace & Peace,
Rev. Dr. David N. Rollins
Lead Presbyter Presbytery of St. Augustine.