Luke 17:11-19 

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” 


The primary purpose of Thanksgiving Day is to express gratitude to God for his many gifts. Although sometimes this gets forgotten in our secular culture today, still most people realize that our thanksgiving should be directed primarily in God’s direction. 

However, this season of year also gives us a chance to say thanks to people. We can express our gratitude to those in our lives for whom we are grateful and who sometimes don’t get to hear this from us very much. 

We see an example of this sort of thing in the letters of the St. Paul. On several occasions, he not only thanks God for his churches, but also he tells them of it. Consider Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians Christians, for example. Here we read: 

  • We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly. (1 Thessalonians 1:2) 
  • How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? (1 Thessa-lonians 3:9) 

Imagine how you’d feel to hear this, from someone important in your life. My guess is you’d feel honored, happy, maybe a bit embarrassed, and even thankful. It’s a wonderful thing to hear that someone is truly thankful for you. It’s one of the best feelings in life. 

Thanksgiving provides a valuable occasion for saying thanks, both to the God from whom all blessings flow and to those who are conduits of divine blessings in our lives. It’s a time to stop what we’re doing and say “Thank you” to the people in our lives who deserve to hear this from us. 

Telling people that you’re thankful for them will enrich your life as well as the lives of those for whom you are grateful. 


God of all blessings, source of all life, giver of all grace:
We thank you for the gift of life: for the breath that sustains life,
for the food of this earth that nurtures life,
for the life-giving love of family and friends. 
We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty of the Earth that the eye can see,
for the unfolding universe that draws us beyond our imaginings. 
We thank you for the communities to which we belong:
for families, for friends,
for neighbors and for companions at work. 
We thank you for the strangers who welcome us into their lives 
and whom we invite to be part of ours. 
We thank you for our brothers and sisters of all ages, all races, 
all nations and all faiths. 
We thank you for the multitude of ways that you call us 
to steward the gifts of creation and to serve others in your name. 
We thank you for this day, for the companionship we share 
and the bountiful goodness of the bread we break together. 
God of all goodness, we pray in thanks 
for your presence among us as we gather together, 
and your promise to be with us now and always. 


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