Hearty Thanks

Poet and Church Times columnist Malcolm Guite recently praised the “full English” of the traditional Book of Common Prayer liturgies.

I share his particular love of the General Thanksgiving in our Morning Prayer Rite I. Granted, the language borders on the archaic. Few of us would offer “humble and hearty thanks” to God except when we are praying this prayer.

Yet, as Guite notes, the word “hearty” could connote a sumptuous breakfast, and thus we can think of ourselves as giving thanks for everything across the board: “all the blessings of this life.” Guite also notes the other “alls” in the prayer: “all mercies,” “all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men,” “all honor and glory.” There is no doubt of the amount of gratitude we are expressing!

I know it’s hopelessly out of date; this prayer and others like it will be excluded from the next Prayer Book. But I’m going to enjoy this prayer while I can. —J. Douglas Ousley

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