My concept of prayer changed when I was taking a Shalem Institute spirituality training, and Sister Rose Mary Dougherty asked, “What is God’s prayer for you?”
I had thought of prayer in terms of telling God what I needed or wanted. I hadn’t thought of asking God what God wanted for me.
I think the same about Thanksgiving. We thank God for many things at Thanksgiving. What if we were to ask God what things God was thankful for? What things are we doing that God appreciates?
God is probably thankful that we honor a time of harvest. Swedenborg tells us that this is about regeneration.
That "seed-time and harvest" signify man who is to be regenerated, and thus the church ...
God probably appreciates that we give thanks:
By "giving thanks" is signified the acknowledgment and glorification of the Lord
'Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving' signifies the Lord's spiritual Divine things.
God may not be thankful about what really happened between the pilgrims and Native Americans.
In 1970, Wamsutta, an Aquinnah Wampanoag man, had been asked to speak at a Massachusetts banquet celebrating the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims. He agreed. But when they saw an advance copy of the talk, they refused to allow him to deliver it. He had planned to say:
Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans. Mourt's Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians' winter provisions as they were able to carry.
Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation.
When told he could not deliver this speech, Wamsutta refused to speak at the banquet. Instead he and many hundreds of other Native people and supporters gathered in Plymouth and observed the first National Day of Mourning. United American Indians of New England have returned to Plymouth every year since to demonstrate against the Pilgrim mythology.
The Rev. Robert Two Bulls says:
Perhaps we as a nation need to celebrate the life of Squanto, who was the real hero of this sad story. Instead we celebrate a false mythology that plays into our notion of greatness. It is presented like a bridge that connects a mythic past of one's ancestors having nothing to present-day descendents having a superabundance of everything. The troubling aspect of this symbol is that the foundation on one side of this bridge is unstable, and I am not sure that making a connection from this myth to giving thanks today is a very good one to make. We have to remember that land in America was largely acquired dishonestly by outright theft and by breaking treaties with the first peoples of this land. American History that only considers the false myths as truth will always diminish the past and present lives of Native American Indians.
So perhaps God is not thankful about the mythological basis of the U.S. Thanksgiving. But God is probably thankful about our many efforts to provide food for the hungry and about our efforts to acknowledge the Divine in this time of celebration. God is probably thankful that we take time for prayer and that we engage in many “uses” of help for others. God is probably grateful for the times people work together to help others, such as the international effort to save the trapped miners in Chile. God probably appreciates our taking the time to be with people we care about, and to give acknowledgement to the Divine.
What do you see around you that God is thankful for? What can you do to add to God's thanfulness?