Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Great Thanksgiving

Since Eucharistic Prayers are known as "The Great Thanksgiving," I celebrate Thanksgiving Day 2015 by sharing this with you.  It is one of the prayers used at St Cuthbert's Episcopal Church, Oakland, California, when Bishop Swing gave me leeway.  Yes, my liturgical friends, it is long. It is meant to lead us into meditation and probably works better as meditation than as corporate liturgy.

This prayer does express my own spirituality.

Presider          The Lord be with you.
People             And also with you.
Presider          Lift up your hearts.
People             We lift them to the Lord.
Presider          Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People             It is right to give God thanks and praise.

You alone are Holy, Creator of all things.
From eternal silence your Word burst forth—
uttering worlds into being,
shattering the void and blazing forth 
into the shapeless heavens.
Surging in the wet darkness of heaving chaos
the heartbeat of your love sets all things in motion.
Your dazzling glory showers being on this new creation
that is yours yet emerges as Other.
Your Spirit tends and nurtures,
shapes, calls forth, and quickens all things,
teasing endless possibilities 
from the riches of your passionate joy.

The dancing immensities honor you;
the rhythms of birth and death bless you;
the crashing surf and winging bird chant your praises;
the blood coursing in our bodies 
and the wind rising in our throats
combine to sing your goodness,
as we join the music of the spheres 
and the exultation of the heavenly hosts,
glorifying your Name in the endless chorus:

Presider and People

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
  Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
  Hosanna in the highest.
The Presider continues
Boundless Giver and Faithful Lover,
you make us in your sacred image,
planting in our mortal frame 
the spark of Uncreated Light
that no darkness may quench,
setting each of us on our path toward You,
who are our Beginning, Journey, and End.

You call to us without ceasing, 
and have blessed the human race
with those whose ears are open 
and whose tongues are free
to speak your Word.

Luring us toward the fullness of life 
and the joy of your freedom,
you draw us, as you have drawn our ancestors,
toward the unknown place and the unhoped future,
lest we perish in the bondage of our failures and fears.

Speaking within time the Word beyond time
and joining yourself forever to your creation,
you became one with us in Jesus the Christ,
taking our flesh through Mary,
daughter of Eve and mother of believers.
In him you proclaim your love,
your faithfulness, forgiveness, and compassion,
offering them freely to all without exception.

We and you are joined in Jesus, 
offering ourselves and all creation to you, 
Maker of all things, for healing and blessing
through your transforming Spirit.
In his death you embrace death and every evil
that life and goodness may prevail.
In his rising you triumph, 
drawing all creation once more
into the dance of endless joy and life that cannot end.

With human hands Jesus took bread before his death,
blessing you as he offered it, broke it, 
shared it with his friends,
and said, “Take, eat:
This is my Body, which is given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.”

With human hands he raise the cup,
gave thanks, and shared once more, saying,
“Drink this, all of you:
This is my Blood of the new Covenant,
which is poured out for you and for all
for the forgiveness of sins.
Whenever you drink it,
do this for the remembrance of me.”

By human hands he was betrayed
and his hands were stretched upon the cross.
Raised again that we might rise with him,
he reaches out with the same hands, now pierced,
to reassure us that he, our Life, now lives.

Giver of Life, with your gifts and our toil
this bread and wine are now offered,
as we remember your never-ceasing love 
and faithful self-offering,
especially in Jesus’ life and ministry,
dying and rising, presence and promise.

By your Spirit and Creative Word 
make the bread and cup
Life for us and the world, 
the Body and Blood of Jesus.

Bestow your Spirit once more upon us,
continuing your work in us 
and raising us to new life in you,
that we who have been united to Christ
may be transfigured like him to show forth your glory.

Unite us with Cuthbert and all your saints
that we may share in the life of those who love you
and taste the blessings of the merciful and the just.

Presider and People
Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ,
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
we worship you our God and Creator
in voices of unending praise.
Blessed are you now and for ever.  AMEN.

 The prayer is my own composition and I freely grant permission to make use of it with credit given.  Thank you.

--the BB

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