The Thanksgiving song that taught me to preach … and live

My second favorite song … probably nothing could take away the deep personal meaning for me of “I Love to Tell the Story,” by Katherine (Kate) hankey, but it is this newer hymn by Fred Pratt Green (Words © 1970 Hope Publishing Company) that has shaped so much for me.

For the fruit of all creation, thanks be to God;
for the gifts of every nation, thanks be to God;
for the ploughing, sowing, reaping, silent growth while we are sleeping,
future needs in earth’s safe-keeping, thanks be to God.

In the just reward of labor, God‘s will is done;
in the help we give our neighbor, God’s will is done;
in our world-wide task of caring for the hungry and despairing,
in the harvests we are sharing, God’s will is done.

For the harvests of the Spirit, thanks be to God;
for the good we all inherit, thanks be to God;
for the wonders that astound us, for the truths that still confound us,
most of all that love has found us, thanks be to God.

For gifts of nations for which we weep and pray,
that are not just “needy,” but places bursting with art and song,
with tradition and innovation, gifts that all the earth needs.
Haiti, Yemen, Myanmar, Ethiopia/Tigray, Afghanistan,
Belarus and the birth countries of people
who came to the Belarus border, suffered, were removed,
Thanks be to God.

For ploughing in wildfire dry and dusty soil,
sowing yet again where there will be storm and flood,
and for the silent growth of movements
to save earth’s future, while so many of us are sleeping,
Thanks be to God.

In caring for migrant workers – called essential,
but not eligible for pandemic assistance,
In real friendship for folks who live rough,
(both those who long for home
and those who don’t want to be in one)
which may be more of a gift
than a holiday plate, scented of gravy,
God’s will is done

In caring for those who work on container ships,
dock unloaders, truck drivers,
deliverers of a multitude of packages,
grocery store clerks shouted at on busy days.
God’s will is done.

In sitting with survivors

of a Christmas parade despairing,
and in vaccines that we should be sharing,

God’s will is done.

For the harvests of all the faiths, thanks be to God;
for the longing for justice and compassion
that we have inherited in so unexpected ways,
from strange saints all around us,

most of all that love did find me,
broken, lost, alcoholic, frightened,
and who, in my recovering, stays beside me,

Thanks be to God.

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11 Responses to The Thanksgiving song that taught me to preach … and live

  1. Kathy Brett says:

    Thank you for sharing. I do love this hymn. Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all in USA (our turkey and leftovers have long been consumed). I hope that gratitude rules in all hearts so that there is no room for hatred or greed. Blessings

  2. Stephen Price says:

    I love this so very much.
    Thru years of struggle and ministry your words of compassionate honesty have been a counterpoint for my angry responses to the landscape of our world. Your poetry has helped me keep my balance. Thankful for you

  3. Beautiful! I give thanks for your kind and tender spirit that always holds the world in its care. Thanks be to God.

  4. A song filled with compassion and with caring for others. Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. A beautiful song and a moving reflection on it from a universal and personal perspective. Thank you.

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