The Dilemma of Thanksgiving Grace for Religious Naturalists

Ah, those warm, comforting memories of Thanksgivings spent with family. … Or, are they sometimes not so blissful? Like when the family meal starts with a request that we all pray about Jesus’ blood?  If that sounds familiar, you may enjoy this short video by John Cleland Host.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

And here’s a simple grace that John Halstead says with his family:

We thank the earth in which the seed did grow.
We thank the hands that the seed did sow.
We thank the sky which gave us rain.
We thank the sun whose rays give us gain.
We thank the hands that this meal did prepare.
To live in honor of these gifts is our prayer.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our HumanisticPaganism.com friends!

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8 Comments on “The Dilemma of Thanksgiving Grace for Religious Naturalists

  1. Wouldn’t it be of similar effect to reiterate/offer solidarity to those agents which brought forth all that made one’s life liveable within the last year? I’m thinking that offering thanks is something which you do to someone, and within the context of American Thanksgiving holiday culture, it’s usually to a deity (“I’m thankful (to god) for my family, this spread, a good year, etc.).

    Within a nontheistic, more level relations field, I think that all those who blessed one’s life are deserving of solidarity from that person in their wellbeing, struggles and accomplishments.

    “We give solidarity to the earth in which the seed did grow.
    We give solidarity to the hands that the seed did sow.
    We give solidarity to the sky which gave us rain.
    We give solidarity to the sun whose rays give us gain.
    We give solidarity to the hands that this meal did prepare.[…]”

    Something like that.

    • I see your point. How can we thank impersonal nature without personifying it?

      I think it is important nonetheless to acknowledge our inferiority in relation to nature. (See Jason Silva’s video about the god-like power of the sun: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d_S6DKqcU9M ). “Solidarity” doesn’t capture this for me.

      • We could say:

        “We are grateful for the earth in which the seed did grow.
        We are grateful for….”

  2. A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

    Lord, let me more than a consumer be
    on this commercial-ridden holiday.
    Let your Light shine within me
    and satisfy me and satiate me,
    that there be no lingering hunger
    even after I have eaten my fill.
    Let my football-addled t.v. go dim
    that I do not waste this day
    or any other day
    watching silly sports or any silly thing
    on these shallow, soulless screens.

    Lord, let your Light shine through this day
    and through the darkness of Black Friday
    and through the darkening days till Christmas
    and beyond…
    that I may crave no more than I already own,
    even if all I own is this windy prayer
    to your unsubstantiated presence,
    of which I am substantially thankful.

    — Sometimes personifying the great mystery of being is the easiest way to think about it or to bring it into one’s soul. There is nothing wrong with personifying, as long one understands that the personifying belongs to the imagination not the world.

  3. You could always thank the farmers that raise the turkeys and brought them to your table.

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