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Thursday
Nov052015

FACULTY CORNER: Dr. Steve McCormick

THE GENERAL THANKSGIVING

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 our 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 may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves 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.
—Book of Common Prayer—


Reflections from
DR. STEVE McCORMICK
NTS William M. Greathouse Chair for Wesleyan-Holiness Theology

The Faith of the Church has been formed by Prayer. And the faith of John and Charles Wesley was deeply shaped by the church’s Prayer Book. “The General Thanksgiving,” is perhaps, the single most important prayer that illumines the best of their theology. After all, they were following in the faithful steps of the Ancient Church’s practice: the “law of prayer” (lex orandi) is the “law of faith” (lex credendi). That is to say, their prayer was their theology, and their theology was their prayer. And so, from the poets songbook, to the preachers sermons, theirs was a life shaped by the prayer of “The General Thanksgiving.” All the salient marks of this prayer are easily traced in the faith and mission of these Anglican brothers of Methodism. 

During this Thanksgiving season why not spend time praying this prayer daily? Let the words of the Church’s prayer and the meditations of all our hearts desire be pleasing in your sight O Lord. May we be transformed and re-ordered to partake of God’s desire for the redemption of the whole world. As we pray this prayer, may we hear John Wesley’s prayer as a “faith filled with the energy of God’s love,” and doxological vision and mission for the life of the world. We are all “coming from God and returning to God,” says John Wesley, so let this prayer reorder our posture to be one of humble gratitude for the unending mercies of God the Father, for the immeasurable redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the ‘means of grace,’ that is the very gifts of God’s presence in these gracious means to reach our true end—the glory of God. “The Spirit will not let us miss providence’s way,” says Charles Wesley. That is our ‘hope of glory.’ Our doxological return to God is God’s promise. So in the betwixt of God’s time, may this prayer of “General Thanksgiving” make us attentive and mindful of all God’s mercies so that we will be courageous with our bodies and actions as we give witness to the glory of God filling all of heaven and earth. May our faith be so reordered with God’s desire that our faith “only breathes to breathe thy love.”—Charles Wesley. May this prayer reorder our desires so that our holiness and righteousness truly reflects the glory of the Cross in the redemption of the whole world. Amen.
—Soli Deo Gloria!—

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