Bishop's Thanksgiving Message 2019
Aloha my Siblings in Christ Jesus,
One of my favorite prayers is “The General Thanksgiving” (found in The Book of Common Prayer in four places: pages 58-59, 71-72, 101, and 125). Because this prayer has been said at Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer for generations in the Episcopal Church and, therefore, in the personal daily prayer of many, it is deeply a part of our spiritual identity:
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
Bishop Edward Reynolds (November 1599 – 28 July 1676) of the Diocese of Norwich (England) composed the prayer and it was inserted into the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. In the Prayer, Reynolds makes Scriptural reference to Colossians 1:27, Psalm 51:15, and Luke 1:75. Remember, this was a time after the restoration of the monarchy following a civil war and the Puritan “revolution.” Reynolds served as a bridge between the Puritans and the returning supporter of the King and bishops. His prayer was included in the Prayer Book at the request of Puritan clergy who thought earlier Prayer Books lacked enough thanksgiving prayers.
On Thanksgiving Day, it is a wonderful prayer to remind us of the breadth of the call to gratitude. It expresses a profound sense of our relationship with God as the source of life. This prayer also reminds us that our gratitude to God is meaningless unless it provokes a change in our lives and our actions. The gift of God’s love demands that we share that love with others.
I encourage everyone to offer this prayer on Thanksgiving Day as a reminder of the source of all good things and of the grateful lives we are called to live.
“No ia mea, e nā hoahānau, e kūpaʻa ʻoukou, me ka nāueue ʻole, me ka hoʻomau i kā ʻoukou hana nui ʻana i ka hana a ka Haku, no ka mea, ua ʻike nō ʻoukou, ʻaʻole i make hewa kā ʻoukou hana ʻana ma ka Haku.” Korineto I 15.58
“Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
Aloha ma o Iesu Kristo, ko mākou Haku,
The Right Reverend Robert L. Fitzpatrick
The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai'i
229 Queen Emma Square
Honolulu, HI 96813-2304
The Episcopal Church in Micronesia
911 North Marine Corps Drive
Upper Tumon, Guam 96913
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