Today I am heading to western Kentucky in order to spend Thanksgiving with my family. It will be a long drive but getting to see family and friends makes it all worthwhile. Like you, this Thanksgiving I have much to be thankful for. I would be amiss if I didn’t say thanks to those of you who take the time to read this blog. It is a blessing for both Rob and I to be able to share various thoughts on God and nature with you.
Since we are on the eve of Thanksgiving Day I want to share with you a Thanksgiving prayer by Walter Rauschenbusch. Rauschenbusch is remembered today as the father of the social gospel in America. Here is his prayer:
“O 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.”
This prayer means a lot to me and voices well my own thanksgiving. Rauschenbusch’s prayer reveals that he cared deeply not just for the poor and oppressed, but for Creation as well. He lived decades before the advent of the environmental movement but I sense that had he lived in our own time that he might have viewed Creation as being oppressed and in need of liberation.
Those of us who will give thanks tomorrow for God’s glorious gift of Creation must recognize that it is not enough to just give thanks; we must also do all we can to care for and preserve God’s good earth so that future generations can pause on Thanksgiving Days as well and pray a prayer like that above.
(The picture above was taken a couple of years ago at Thanksgiving while I was home visiting my family. The location is Bacon Creek in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.)