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A Thanksgiving Prayer

A prayer of thanksgiving by Walter Brueggemann, entitled:  “We are second you are first”

Before our well-being, there was your graciousness,
before our delight, there was your generosity,
before our joy, there was your good will.

We are second and you are first.
You are there initially with your graciousness, your generosity,
your good will –
and we receive from your inscrutable goodness grace upon grace,
gift upon gift, life upon life
—because you are there at the beginning,
at all our beginnings.

For a quick glimpse, we move beyond our competence,
our productivity, our self-sufficiency
—in our new freedom what we glimpse is you—
outpouring yourself unreservedly in the midst of our hurt
and toward our hopes.
You are there in the splendor of your self-giving.

So we speak our timid, trembling praise back to you,
timid because we are no match for your goodness,
trembling because our praise means turning our life to you,
and we do not turn loose easily.
But we do turn loose to you,
source and goal of our very life.

Our gratitude arises out of the dailiness of our well-being,
of meals regularly before us, of folks regularly caring for us,
of homes regularly warm and safe, of sleep regularly refreshing,
of new days regularly given against the darkness,
of work regularly filling our days with order and dignity.
And in our taken-for-granted regularity,
we discern your abiding and fidelity that holds our worlds
toward well-being.

Our gratitude wells up in the midst of such regularity—
new words spoken, new children born,
new vistas opened, new risks taken,
new words uttered that heal.
We dare confess that in these startling break points,
we glimpse your powerful care
which runs beyond our capacity to manage
and beyond our exhausted capacity to cope.
You…after all our best efforts,
it is you, you who hold and you who break.
And we are grateful. Amen.

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