A Thanksgiving prayer before feasting

Happy Thanksgiving, blog friends. I'm grateful for the conversations we've held here for the last eleven + years, and for all the ways I've learned from this community. 

Thanksgiving prayer. vintage card.jpg

I recently discovered (via the Victoria Emily Jones' treasure of a blog, Art & Theology) the beautiful prayers written by Douglas McElvey. The good crew at the Rabbit Room have collected 100 of McElvey's prayers for everyday realities and occasions into a book that can be ordered here. They've also made a few prayers available for free download, including this rich liturgy offered before feasting with friends.

Whether you are celebrating this week with friends or family, may you know the truth that all will be well. 

CELEBRANT: To gather joyfully
is indeed a serious affair,
for feasting and all enjoyments
gratefully taken are,
at their heart, acts of war.
PEOPLE: In celebrating this feast
we declare that
evil and death,
suffering and loss,
sorrow and tears,
will not have the final word.

But the joy of fellowship, and the welcome
and comfort of friends new and old,
and the celebration of these blessings of
food and drink and conversation and laughter
are the true evidences of things eternal,
and are the first fruits of that great glad joy
that is to come and that will be unending.

So let our feast this day be joined
to those sure victories secured by Christ,

Let it be to us now a delight, and a glad
foretaste of his eternal kingdom.
Bless us, O Lord, in this feast.

Bless us, O Lord, as we linger over our cups,
and over this table laden with good things,
as we relish the delights of varied texture
and flavor, of aromas and savory spices,
of dishes prepared as acts of love and blessing,
of sweet delights made sweeter by
the communion of saints.

May this shared meal, and our pleasure in it,
bear witness against the artifice and deceptions
of the prince of the darkness that would blind
this world to hope.
May it strike at the root of the lie that
would drain life of meaning, and
the world of joy, and suffering of redemption.

May this our feast fall like a great hammer blow
against that brittle night,
shattering the gloom, reawakening our hearts,
stirring our imaginations, focusing our vision
on the kingdom of heaven that is to come,
on the kingdom that is promised,
on the kingdom that is already,
indeed, among us,

For the resurrection of all good things
has already joyfully begun.


May this feast be an echo of that great
Supper of the Lamb,
great Supper of the Lamb,
a foreshadowing of the great celebration
that awaits the children of God.

Where two or more of us are gathered,
O Lord, there you have promised to be.
And here we are.
And so, here are you.
Take joy, O King, in this our feast.
Take joy, O King!

Take joy!
CELEBRANT: All will be well!

All will be well!
Nothing good and right and true will be lost forever.
All good things will be restored.
Feast and be reminded! Take joy, little flock.
Take joy! Let battle be joined!
Let battle be joined!

Now you who are loved by the Father,
prepare your hearts and give yourself wholly
to this celebration of joy,
to the glad company of saints,
to the comforting fellowship of the Spirit,
and to the abiding presence of Christ
who is seated among us both as our host
and as our honored guest, and still yet
as our conquering king.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
take seat, take feast, take delight!
— "A Liturgy for Feasting with Friends" by Douglas McElvey, 2017