Psalm 105:1-6 (NRSV) is a case in point:
O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. Glorify in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered, O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.Here in just a few short verses the psalmist calls on the people to "make known [God's] deeds among the peoples", to "tell of all his wonderful works", and to "remember the wonderful works he has done."
Being thankful is being mindful of the cosmic redemptive story that God's unfolding in history and, indeed, retelling that story so that "the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God" (Psalm 78:6-7, NRSV).
And by the way, I don't mean that in some nationalistic sense of God and country and taking America back for God. Rather, I mean it in the biblical sense of remembering and retelling God's mighty acts of salvation and redemption with his heartbeat for the nations and people from every tribe, language, and tongue. This is the story of Scripture. And it's the story God's still working out in history as we wait for the full and final consummation of his kingdom. Thus we pray: "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
I'm overwhelmed by all the ways I've been personally blessed. Sure I've had struggles, losses, set-backs and reversals. That's life. But the overall trajectory of my life has been truly blessed. It's been full of wonderful people and opportunities (things which I know are not true for everyone). I'm thankful and grateful for all the ways I've been blessed. But being thankful isn't really enough. I need to take it further and ask: How can I leverage the ways God has blessed me to be a blessing to others?
When I think of all the ways our nation as a whole has been blessed with freedom and prosperity, relative safety, security, and comfort, I shudder a bit. Scripture says that to much that has been given, much is required. Sometimes I wonder if many of our perceived "blessings" from God are the very things that prevent us from truly embracing and living out the values of the kingdom. How can we who are Christians in this nation reorient ourselves around the kingdom values of Jesus and live a life of radical Calvary quality self-sacrificial love and service to others?
Today as we gather with our families and friends and feast together, let us be ever mindful of God's blessings in our lives. And let us not stop at merely offering thanksgiving. But let us consider how we can be a blessing to others.
There is a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving in the Book of Common Prayer that says all this much better than I have here. It's my prayer today and hopefully every day. May it be yours as well:
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for your creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.