Happy Thanksgiving 2017
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A Prayer of Thanks (Updated for 2017)
Thank you, Lord,
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…
For life itself, the gift I take most for granted.
For my baptism and introduction to the Gospel when, as an infant, all I could do was trust.
For my family and my ancestors, for hope for generations to come.
For the blessing of being born and raised in a good, prosperous, and free land, as a member of a generation that lacked for little.
For my confirmation, when seeds were planted that have produced fruit throughout the rest of my life.
For an incredible variety of friends and experiences over the years.
For the many ways you protected me during the foolishness of my youth. And for remembering not the sins of my youth.
For guiding my steps, though I have been almost totally clueless when it comes to making choices in my life; somehow a way has always appeared before me.
For my teachers, formal and informal, who have been second only to my family in shaping my life.
For a spiritual awakening in my teen years that kept me from being a statistic.
For my family — my wife, children, and grandchildren — in whom my heart delights and for whom it aches and breaks and prays each day.
For baseball, game of my life, and for knowing, as a Cubs fan, that “wait until next year” now actually means something!
For the Marx Brothers, Bogart, The Wizard of Oz, Woody Allen, It’s a Wonderful Life, Tom Hanks, and all the characters I’ve met and alternate worlds I’ve entered in darkened, magical rooms.
For music, joy of my life. For this past year of immersing my Sundays in the sublime works of Bach.
For van Gogh, Chagall, Giotto, Pollock and all the artists who’ve produced wondrous images that stimulate my imagination and fill my heart with wonder.
For laughter; hearty, healthy, holy laughter. I pray for this more and more.
For Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Chaim Potok, Frederick Buechner, Marilynne Robinson, and all my muses.
For a calling to ministry, the never-ending well of the Bible from which to teach, and the many opportunities to serve that have come my way.
For all the churches that taught me how to be a pastor more than I taught them how to be congregations.
For Luther, in all his tenderness and storminess, and his unyielding focus on Christ.
For Eugene Peterson, Henri Nouwen, N.T. Wright, Pete Enns, and my brother Michael Spencer — faithful guides in the post-evangelical wilderness.
For the life-affirming privilege of working with the dying and their families with a team of remarkable people.
For hearing me when I pray Kyrie Eleison at the beginning of each worship service, and for Word and Sacrament to cleanse and nourish me in faith with all pilgrims as we journey on.
For one true holy catholic and apostolic church — even when it looks hopelessly shattered in a billion pieces.
For grace beyond measure, hope without end, and a Savior to whom none can compare.
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And finally, God bless the Spencers, the Dunns, the Zehners, the Dyes, the Jepsens, the McCanns, the Stallards, and all the other families who have lent their loved ones to give their talents to working and writing for Internet Monk.
And thanks to our community of readers and commenters. I’m grateful for each and every one of you.