Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May this week of gratitude bring you hope, peace and joy. I bring you two readings from our inspiring Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration held earlier this past week. The first Call to Thanksgiving is taken from the original Thanksgiving declaration by President Abraham Lincoln. And the second Prayer of Petition accompanied the turning of our prayer wheel, created many years ago by Glenda Taylor and Sharon Richards for our Grace Chapel here at Community Church of Vero Beach. I hope you enjoy them both.
Responsive Call to Thanksgiving May we enter into this time of Thanksgiving by remembering the words of President Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln delivered this Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863. It is credited with establishing the 4th Thursday of November as a national day for giving thanks. Though the American civil war was still raging, we hear a call for unity and gratitude.
"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven;
“We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.
“At times it seems as if we have forgotten God.
“We have (often) forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us. We have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace.
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged,
“As with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands,
“to set apart and observe the fourth Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise..."
Prayer of Petition for the World at the Prayer Wheel
One: And now let us offer our prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving for all people. For those who work to lead houses of worship in our land;
Turning: Sustain them, O God.
One: For those elected to political office and posts of public trust;
Turning: Guide them, O God.
One: For those who serve in the armed forces;
Turning: Protect them, O God.
One: For those whose mission is to bring peace;
Turning: Grant them success, O God.
One: For those who are sick and suffering;
Turning: Comfort them, O God.
One: For those raising families in a fractured world;
Turning: Be their anchor, O God.
One: For those traveling and their safety;
Turning: Offer traveling mercies, O God.
One: For all those whose labors provide our food, our clothing, our shelter, our daily needs;
Turning: Honor the work of their hands, O God.
One: For those in need of Your mercy and help;
Turning: Support them, O God.
One: For those who are offering their thoughts of gratitude to You;
Turning: Bless them, O God.
One: For those who do not know how to express thanks toward You;
Turning: Inspire their minds and hearts with praise, O God.
One: Receive our fervent Thanksgiving petitions O God, and grant their requests uttered in humility and with love. May our intercessions be acceptable in Your sight. All praise, honor, and worship are due to You, now and forever.
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida