A Reflecton for Harvest Thanksgiving
Now Thank We All Our God
One of the major goals of religion is to teach people to focus gratefully on what they have instead of being aware mostly on what they don’t have.
– Rabbi Harold Kushner
Saying “thank you” is one of the first lessons we learn as children. Among our e arliest memories are our parent s ’ stern reminders; to remember, to say thanks for our toys, gifts, meals and all the goodies that come with childhood. Gra titude is more than remembering to say thanks, however, it is a way of looking at the world that does not change the facts of our lives but has the power to make life more manageable.
One of the best illustrations of this is the story of Rev. Martin Rink art. Rinkart was the pastor of the Lutheran Church in his home of Eilenberg during the Thirty Years War, which devastated Germany in the early 17th century. Eilenberg was swamped by refugees. Famine and pestilence wreaked havoc on the overcrowded city. In 1637, when the crisis was at its peak, Rinkart, officiated at fifty funerals a day. It is estimated that he buried more than four thousand people that year, including several members of his own family. Yet, in the midst of such pain and tragedy, he wrote t he hymn that is our stable for our harvest and Thanksgiving observances:
“Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done in whom this world rejoices:
Who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love and still is ours today.”
God, it has been said, has two dwelling places: one is heaven, the other a thankful heart. On this Harvest Sunday and during the week’s Thanksgiving rituals, let us pray that God would give us grateful hea rts.
We welcome all who have joined us for worship today. A special welcome if you are here for the first time. We pray that your time with us has been a blessing.
HAPPY HARV EST SUNDAY.