God, I offer to you these prayers of thanksgiving from this week’s conference:
When my ingrown toenail clearly can no longer wait for medical attention, I find an urgent care in walking distance. And they are not busy. And they are clean and bright. And they are kind. And they fix my toe for now. So I offer you a prayer of great thanksgiving.
And, on that same morning, when I lock myself out of my room at the Air BnB, I have clothes with me instead of just the nightgown I am wearing. And the woman I accost on the street lets me use her phone. And my husband answers the second time I call. And he finds the code to get back into my room. And, before I give the phone back, we figure out that’s the wrong code and he gives me the right code. And I get back in. So I offer you a prayer of biggish thanksgiving.
A conference attendee didn’t get to come and so they couldn’t use their lunch tickets. And they give me these lunch tickets, free of charge. So I offer you a prayer of medium thanksgiving, and pray for the one who couldn’t come.
And at lunch the one day I find someone to talk to. And it isn’t as much effort as sometimes. And I even get to share a bit of my personal struggles. So I offer you a prayer of not-so-lonely thanksgiving.
And the vendors are good to talk to. I know that’s why they are vendors, but it is a relief to have people to talk to who want to connect. So I offer you another prayer of not-so-lonesome thanksgiving.
And when my flight for the last leg of my trip is messed up, I book an alternate flight and a hotel. And the new flight lands more where I need to be. And I don’t stay up all night waiting for the flight that is ultimately canceled. And Uber works when the hotel shuttle doesn’t. And I get some sleep. So I offer you a prayer of exhausted thanksgiving (and ask that you help me get a refund on the canceled flight!)
I just make it to the meeting back at church by going directly there. And a board member brings me chicken salad so I didn’t starve. And I’m not in charge of the meeting. And the consultant does a good job. So I offer a prayer of relieved thanksgiving.
But now, O God, I discover that I musta left my computer at the TSA on that last delayed leg of my trip. And I leave a message for lost-and-found. Surely they must have a system for this. Surely they will find it and get it to me somehow. But I am mad and frustrated and tired and cross and done. So I offer a prayer of very mediocre thanksgiving.
And I realize that what counts isn’t the greatness of my thanks. And what counts isn’t the greatness of my prayer. Instead, what counts is your great giving. Thank you, God.
Pastor Barb Hedges-Goettl loves to play with words and worship. She and her husband Len have long noted that the Presbyterian eucharistic prayer is, in some places, called a “Great Prayer of Thanksgiving” but a “Prayer of Great Thanksgiving” in others. Does that mean we can have a mediocre prayer? or mediocre thanksgiving? or both?