One of the things I give thanks for is the remarkable attention and energy given to giving thanks at this time of year. We’ve always has a plethora of occasions in the Church for specific aspects of thanksgiving (above and beyond “we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee”!) and one of the gifts of being part of the Church at this time is to see how those ways are evolving.
Many parishes will have celebrated Harvest Home last Sunday (and some, even further back), and perhaps most will celebrate National Thanksgiving this coming weekend. Some may have celebrated Lammas (first harvest, on August 1); others will have kept Rogation Days to pray for good harvests as the seasons progressed. Did you bless ploughs, or seed? (Or, backpacks? Cell phones and their ilk? Some other examples of tools of harvest less connected with soil?)
A priest shared in my presence this week how her parish celebrates Thanksgiving across three Sundays, culminating this weekend: the first gives thanks for the disciples of the parish—all who contribute to its mission and ministry; the second, for our animal companions (as the Sunday before National Thanksgiving generally falls around the commemoration of St. Francis); and the third, as a combination of Harvest and National Thanksgiving. It struck me as a neat way of moving from Back to Church Sunday through St. Francis to Thanksgiving, all focused on rejoicing in the grace that God lavishes upon us in so many varied ways.
Anne Lamott has written in many places that she thinks that the two best prayers she knows are: “Help me, help me, help me,” and “thank you, thank you, thank you.” How are you praying the second one in your communities this year?