Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

On a non-creationism note; one of the things I do at my internship church is the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving during Communion. My supervisor asked me to write my own, and after reading through some of the ones in the Book of Common Worship and thinking about it, this was my result (which I prayed again today):

Eternal and immanent God
We gather together today
Our hearts full of thankfulness.
Father of justice
Mother of mercy
Author of life
Light in the darkness
We delight in your love
We exult in the beauty of your creation
We tremble at the vastness of your being.

We thank you that you made yourself known
In the person and life of Jesus Christ
Born of Mary, child of Nazareth
Baptized by John
Tested and triumphant
The living Gospel
Who shattered every barrier
Challenged every idol
Healer, teacher, prophet, savior
And brother.
In his death we all die
In his resurrection death is broken.

We thank you for your presence in the Holy Spirit
The fire of Pentecost
That burns in us still
Sinew that binds the Body of Christ together
Heart and light of the Church
The seal set upon us
The substance of our shared love
A foretaste of the present and coming Kingdom.
By this Spirit we are empowered
To love self, neighbor and enemy
To overturn the idolatrous powers of this world
To live out our calling
And to take up the cross of Christ.

We thank you that you have made us one
Many parts, one being
Adopted children of the everlasting
Bound together, in life and in death
The past, present and future communion of saints.
We thank you for the life we have in you
As the family of God
Sustained by your love.

Amen

12 thoughts on “Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

  1. i was going to say something this morning, but i always appreciate your prayers – you are very good at writing them and they are always cause for me to smile, to think and to reflectt. thank you for your time and effort towards improving worship at our church! ; )

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  2. Doug,Interesting prayer. I raises questions about acouple of things though. I would be interested to know what you mean when you use words and phrases like “Eternal” God and “beauty of creation”. For someone who seems to be questioning creation and evolution that language seems out of character. Craig

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  3. By “Eternal” I mean that if God is present, God is present throughout time, from beginning to end. I wouldn’t say either way whether God is present outside of time because I’m quite certain I have no concept of what it means to be outside of time.By “beauty of creation” I mean that one of the ways one might intuit God’s presence is in the experience of beauty. This could be physical beauty, like a sunset or a mountain, or moral beauty, like self-sacrificial love, or artistic beauty, like a great masterpiece.When I talk about creation, what I basically mean is “the cosmos, in which God is involved”. God could be involved by creating at the Big Bang and letting evolutionary processes work out the fine details, for example (evolutionary theism). Or maybe God is just involved by influencing consciousness beings (process theology). Etc. My faith-affirmation is that God is involved in the cosmos, and that’s mostly what I mean by saying “creation”.

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  4. Doug,Interesting answer. Which leads to additional questions. First if you are not sure God is present why would you be in seminary. Second, the word creation actually has a meaning; 1. the act of producing or causing to exist, the act of creation. 2. the fact of being created. 3. something that is or has been created. Nowhere in the accepted definition of the word creation is the concept of intuition.I would also be interested in a construct in which the theory of evolution, (if not classical Darwin please give me your definition of evolution)can account for either physical beauty (or the ability to universally recognize it as such), moral beauty (where in the concept of survival of the fittest/natural selection is there room for self sacrifice), or artistic beauty (again, in a world of random chance how do we recognize beauty.)Finally, I find it fascinating that in your options for how things might have been “created” you completely dismiss (or don’t include) the possibility that God actually could have created the universe in any supernatural way.Also in response to another blog entry about good books regarding the creation/evolution I would reccomend the Francis Scheaffer trilogy (The God Who is There, Escape From Reason, He is There and He is Not Silent) also Nancy Pearcy Total Truth. Both come at the issue from a slightly different perspective than most of what people involved in tis debate do.Craig Norton

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  5. “First if you are not sure God is present why would you be in seminary.” –> Because I don’t assume I’ll ever be certain where God is concerned. I assume that when dealing with something that is by its nature incomprehensible in its fullness, I’ll always have to deal with uncertainty. Frankly, I think theological certainty is idolatry, because I agree with Barth that the God you understand is not the God who is God, but is rather a fragmentary God. So I’m in seminary because I feel called to ordained ministry and because I am comfortable with uncertainty.“Second, the word creation actually has a meaning; 1. the act of producing or causing to exist, the act of creation. 2. the fact of being created. 3. something that is or has been created.”–> Right, but you and I disagree on what it means for God to “create”, so in light of that I gave the definition I gave. So I agree with you, it has a definition, but it is based on the concept of what it means for God to create in this case, so we can move our disagreement back a step if you wish, but I still don’t see a reason to cede that you’re correct, any more than you see a reason to cede that I am. “Nowhere in the accepted definition of the word creation is the concept of intuition.”–> Right, but you misunderstood me. In the definition of “perception”, or in “understanding”, there is the concept of intuition. I was using intuition to modify my statement about understanding, not God’s act of creation. I’m sorry if the syntax was unclear there. “I would also be interested in a construct in which the theory of evolution, (if not classical Darwin please give me your definition of evolution)can account for either physical beauty (or the ability to universally recognize it as such), moral beauty (where in the concept of survival of the fittest/natural selection is there room for self sacrifice), or artistic beauty (again, in a world of random chance how do we recognize beauty.)”–> Awesome. It is known as evolution by means of natural selection :). Seriously, there is an evolutionary understanding of things like aesthetics and moral behavior. There are books that have been published on an evolutionary understanding of, for example, altruistic behavior. If you want a list, I’ll just use Google and Amazon, so if you’re interested you should probably just do that. Also, I reject your intimation that beauty is universally recognized as such. I see no evidence of this whatsoever in anthropology, for example, or really any comparative cultural study. Finally, I’ve said it before, but Darwinian evolution is not “random”, and I don’t of evolutionary biologists who claim that it is. “Finally, I find it fascinating that in your options for how things might have been “created” you completely dismiss (or don’t include) the possibility that God actually could have created the universe in any supernatural way.”–> Why? When I can account for something without the supernatural, why add it? If I can explain rainbows via refraction of visible light, do I need Leprechauns? I don’t dismiss the *possibility* at all. I dismiss the existence of conclusive evidence. Why do you dismiss the chance that God created the universe naturally? What do you mean by supernatural? Why do you reject metaphorical understandings of all of these concepts in favor of literalistic ones? Etc. “Also in response to another blog entry about good books regarding the creation/evolution I would reccomend the Francis Scheaffer trilogy (The God Who is There, Escape From Reason, He is There and He is Not Silent) also Nancy Pearcy Total Truth. Both come at the issue from a slightly different perspective than most of what people involved in tis debate do.”–> I’ll take note here and add these to my library list. 🙂

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  6. Thank you Craig for you good wishes. I hope so too. I’m really enjoying my internship so far, and I’ve enjoyed things like Stephen Ministry and leading worship before, so I’m expecting that I will find satisfaction. Challenge, definitely; discomfort, sure; but satisfaction I think. We’ll see.

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