Since being in Maryland one of the places I have really enjoyed visiting and spending time at for reflection and renewal is Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center, just down the road from Mount Hebron in Marriotsville. As well as being a venue often used by our Presbytery for retreats, they are open to folks wishing to have individual retreats, and also offer a whole spectrum of courses to enjoy.
I spent time there this year preparing some of the material for “The Story” series that we have followed throughout the year. It's hard to believe that series has come to an end... and I am thankful for the opportunity of sharing in study and worship with the congregation as we traveled through the 66 books of the bible together. Our final sermon of the series "The End of Time" can be found here.
As the name of the season suggests, at this time of the year, we are encouraged to count our blessings and be thankful for every good gift that God has placed in our life. Here is a prayer, composed by Thomas P. Roberts, from the Bon Secours community. May God's blessing be with you and yours during these days of Thanksgiving.
“O God of all Creation: You have cared for the earth, and have filled it with Your riches. Abundance flows in Your steppes, through the pastures and wilderness. You provide for our land, softening it with showers, bathing it in light, and blessing it with growth.
The hills sing with joy; the meadows are covered with flocks; the fields deck themselves with wheat; and together they glorify Your name!
On this occasion of our Thanksgiving, we as a nation take rest from our labors, to consider Your many blessings. We thank You for our freedoms, and for the opportunity to contribute our skills, our attributes and our values toward the good of society.
We thank You for the mixture of our cultures, blending us into one people under God. Help us to be a light unto other nations, and to further the cause of freedom and justice all over the world.
We remember those who are less fortunate than we. We lift up in prayer the victims of poverty and racism, and all those who suffer from forms of political and economic oppression. Let the word that goes forth from our mouths speak of Your peace, and let us proclaim our hope in Christ as Savior of all humankind.
We pray that You will bless all those who gather to celebrate. May Your presence be known in our hearts. Grant us Your guidance, O God, and empower us for Your work. For we claim nothing for ourselves, but return all honor and glory unto You, and offer our thanks and praise. Amen.”
For some music... Josh Groban sings "Thankful."
Rev Adrian Pratt B.D.