Franklin W. Young - "Thanksgiving Prolegomena" (November 22, 1970)
|(praise and worship music)
|Let us walk and run to God.
|Our unison prayer of confession.
|Let us pray.
|Oh, we tell no God and most merciful father,
|we confess and acknowledge here before the divine majesty
|that we are miserable sinners
|that in us there is no goodness.
|But since we are displeased with ourselves,
|from the sin that we have committed against thee,
|and do sincerely repent of the same,
|we most humbly beseech thee for Jesus Christ sake
|to show thy mercy upon us,
|to forgive us all our sins
|and to increase thy holy spirit in us,
|help us to bring forth such fruit as maybe agreeable
|to thy most blessed will.
|Not because of the way they knows the lord
|but the merit of the ideally beloved son, Jesus Christ,
|our only savior, amen.
|Hear those comfortable words of assurance
|from the first chapter of John.
|Our sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake, amen.
|The scripture today would be selected versus
|from the Psalm 116.
|"I love the Lord because he has heard
|the voice of my supplication.
|I found trouble and sorrow.
|Then I called out in the name of the Lord.
|Oh Lord deliver me, I was brought low and he saved me
|and now has delivered my soul from death,
|my eyes, tears, and my feet from stumbling.
|What can I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me,
|I will pay my vows to the Lord.
|The very presence of all these people
|I will offer to thee sacrifice of Thanksgiving.
|Call upon the name of the Lord, praise lord."
|The Lord be with you, let us pray.
|We thank the Lord that we have thy wisdom,
|lying at the mercy of every seeking mind
|all thy most wonderful in the realm of truth.
|We thank the Lord that we have thy water river and sea,
|hill and valley, polished and filled for our dwellings
|All thy most audience in the realm of beauty,
|we thank the Lord that we have thy self,
|but our guide and breath for our most hateful
|in the realm of the love.
|Thanks be to thee, for the live,
|unspeakable gift this day and forever more.
|Let us put unto God a special prayer of Thanksgiving
|for the harvest, almighty God, our heavenly father,
|we give thanks and praise that thy mercy thou
|has brought us through the savior of another year.
|And that according to thy promise,
|see time and privacy have not reached
|blessed be the thou has crowned the year
|with like goodness and has bestowed upon us
|the kindly fruit of the earth,
|we pray thee to grant us grace,
|that we may receive them rightfully
|and use them carefully with own comfort for relief,
|from those that are needy and for the glory of thy name.
|Let us all put a prayer of intercession for others.
|Oh Lord God merciful and mighty,
|help those whom we have neglected to help,
|set a right, those who we've caused to stumble,
|visit those whom we have neglected to visit
|bringing back those whom we have led astray,
|cheer the hearts of those whom we have made sad
|that are with the courts of thy love.
|Those of whom, I would love, has grown old,
|save them all, oh Lord and have mercy upon us.
|For the sake of Christ our lord.
|And let us all put a prayer of supplication
|that we may have the graces of Christian character.
|All thou and whose boundless being or laid upon
|all treasures of wisdom, truth and holiness
|grant us through constant fellowship with thee
|the true graces of Christian Character,
|Grace us courage whether in suffering or in death,
|the grace of preparedness thus we entered into temptation.
|The grace to treat others as we would have others treat us,
|the grace of charity that we may refrain from his judgment.
|The grace of silence, that we may refrain from hate speech,
|the grace for forgiveness toward all who have wronged us.
|The grace of tenderness towards all those who are weaker,
|the grace of steadfast in continuing to desire
|that thou will do as thou we pray.
|Lord, tamper with tranquility our manhood activity
|that we may do out of where the very great simplicity.
|Now, as our savior Christ taught us,
|we humbly pray together.
|"Our father who at in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
|thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth
|as it is in heaven.
|Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us
|our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass
|against us and lead us, not into temptation,
|but deliver us from evil for thy is the kingdom
|and the power and the glory forever, amen."
|And the words of my mouth and meditations of our hearts
|acceptable in Christ sake all our strength and our redeemer.
|This is Thanksgiving Sunday and our Duke Chapel calendar.
|I don't think it was fine in the light of eventualities
|that we have today or my remarks,
|perhaps things may I have to say maybe
|more appropriate than I had planned.
|It is appropriate that on this Sunday,
|we direct our thoughts toward the celebration
|of a demand in our national history,
|which comes as close as any other do have
|a deep religious roots and significance.
|At least it has been symbolized in this way.
|I need not rehearse for any of you,
|the meaning of that event in our national history,
|our need, I dwell upon the obvious gratitude we have,
|or it might be thoughtless and neglect things,
|but when mindful, we're thankful.
|I do not propose to direct your attention today to this.
|I do propose, excuse me, to direct your attention today,
|rather to this human phenomenon,
|this human project of giving thanks
|of acknowledging and expressing gratitude,
|the phenomenon as search,
|and here, I'm not primarily concerned to look
|at the phenomenon from the psychological point of view,
|intending to pay close attention to the meaning
|of this attitude as such.
|What I wish to consider in particular are certain dimensions
|of the larger environment in which Thanksgiving
|and giving thanks occurs today.
|It's not a matter of discovering something new.
|It is a matter of reminding ourselves,
|recalling what we are experiencing
|re-correcting, so that the environment
|may be full of ingredients,
|which show off or threatened giving thanks
|with thee sickness or death.
|Let's assume that we're all reasonably
|sensitive to our environment.
|Would you then agree with the following,
|that the terrible and the tragic cry,
|which took the lives of the Marshall university students
|staff will cast the dark cloud over any giving thanks.
|That the grim consequences of the cyclone
|which revenged Pakistan and the surrounding region,
|will create cast a dark shadow
|over any thanks giving would do.
|These are two shocking events of the immediate past.
|What are the nagging war continuing
|to take its toll of lives,
|distributed its offerings of suffering and hardship,
|where will it fit into our season of Thanksgiving?
|I need not continue this recital
|of aspects of our total environment (indistinct)
|to each one of you, for each one of you,
|there would be no difficulty in bringing notice
|of aspects of our environment, moving personal dramas,
|which you have not and will not right public intentions.
|Nevertheless, they are effective
|aspects in our lives.
|Now, I suppose we might try to shut out of our mind,
|all of this in our rarefying
|of our environmental atmosphere.
|We might say I would exclude from my mind
|anything except those things for which I can be
|truly grateful and offer genuine thanks.
|As we might say, I just won't pay any attention
|to those elements, destructive of our air
|or water (mumbles),
|but I wonder how many of us could pull this off
|in this day and age?
|I believe phrase one of the contemporary songs
|gives a pretty good summary of a not uncommon feeling
|regarding certain dimensions of our environment.
|In these words, get the word off my back.
|How do you not know the world when it is on your back?
|But isn't it the subtle encroach of the world,
|which is just as threatening as the dramatic
|pathos of sudden calamity
|that preys on my back is very suggestive
|or it conveys the impression not only of being weighted down
|by the sense of being caught and a grass concerning,
|which we have the awful temptation to believe
|that we can do nothing, (mumbles)
|We know that the terrible strains and goals frustrations
|antagonism in society, in families,
|between parents and children, between husbands and wives
|at those points where they seem often most manageable
|or not to be fully understood
|apart from the unpredictable
|and relatively uncontrollable pressures and demand,
|after vacillating changing social
|and economic structure of our existence.
|We know we live in a society whose mechanisms
|for the provision of what used to be simple need
|like food, clothing, shelter, government
|are so complexes to suggest that personhood is cipher hood
|in such a condition where the solution to issues
|is in the decisions regarding issues
|seem so far from our present personal experience.
|It is not strange that we tend to discount our own
|personal responsibility for the movements
|and developments within our social order.
|Furthermore, it is not strange that we experience it
|as a part of our environment which is on our backs.
|(musical drum beating)
|We seem to be living in an environment which is closing in,
|on us from the outside
|posing as an impenetrable web that threatens to cast
|such a shadow over all our existence
|as to discourage us from thinking it can be penetrated.
|One might say this aspect of our environment
|is referred to in the rumor going around
|that man lives in a closed world
|and is totally subjected to it.
|That rumor is the most persuasive
|force ever oppressive ingredient in our (mumbles).
|We can add to this a very mostly related or not new rumor,
|which has recently gained some new momentum
|in substantiation and the publicizing of the researches
|of Dr. Jose Delgado of the Yale University
|School of Medicine experimenting with wild animals.
|Delgado has some remarkable accomplishments
|to his credit in the field of electrical stimulation
|of the brain.
|And most recently he has through the improvement
|of mechanical devices managed to establish the direct
|non-sensory communication between a computer
|and the brain of a Chimp leading to control
|the conduct of that animal.
|Dr. Delgado is the prophet of a new society,
|which he calls cycle civilized.
|Dr. Delgado has said, quote, "the human race,
|is an evolutionary turning point.
|We're very close to having the power to construct
|our own metal function through a knowledge of genetics,
|which I think will be complete within the next 25 years.
|And through a knowledge of the cerebral mechanisms,
|which underlie our behavior."
|The question is what sort of humans would we like?
|Ideally, Duke is black
|that only our cities are very badly planned.
|We as human beings are Duke
|that results in both cases are disasters.
|Dr. Delgado has concerned shares
|with most enlightened people,
|or he believes that something must be done
|about man's destructive (mumbles) and realities of love.
|His researches have prompted quite a discussion
|among the specialists on technical graphs,
|However, the principle question is posed
|by those technical experts.
|Fear that cycle civilization always is a threat
|to human freedom and arouses all the thoughts of the dangers
|involved in the mass control of human conduct.
|I am not at this point, entering basis on technical route.
|And I refer to this matter to point to one
|facet of our environment.
|I refer to the continuous implications
|of much of our plans for man that
|we are in the last analysis thanks,
|mainly object of manipulation
|when asked to respond to those specialists
|who believe that the danger of abuse
|in the use of electrical stimulation
|of the brain in humans is great.
|Dr. Delgado's reported to her said,
|I suppose that to primitive man,
|the idea of diverting the course of a river
|would have seen religious.
|This is an interesting analogy plan
|to diverting the course of a river.
|Obviously the question is, this mark,
|or rather on treatment of a river.
|I only refer to this to illustrate the environment
|in which a mark a question mark
|is repeatedly placed alongside man.
|As he in any sense ultimately distinct from his world?
|Is he an object truly destined to succumb to that,
|which is on his back and the environment
|on his back seems says closed in upon itself
|as it is upon here.
|These are aspects of the environment,
|in which the act of giving (mumbles)
|in contemplating the particular dimension,
|these particular dimensions of the environment
|of our giving thanks.
|I wish to suggest one line of scripture
|or our consideration as we thank.
|They are the words of the apostle Paul,
|which are found near the conclusion of his first letter
|to the best of the loss and they are thee
|" Rejoice always, pray constantly
|give thanks in all circumstances
|for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you".
|I am not pretending to unload that passage of it to me,
|In the first place I couldn't because I'm sure I don't know
|all that Paul meant by those closing words.
|Furthermore, I am sure that he meant each one of us
|to find its meaning as it points to a decisive
|illuminating empowering dimension
|in the environment of our world.
|Let me say this much.
|If we take these words seriously,
|I infer the following from what Paul says
|from the word rejoice always,
|we can infer that at all time,
|no matter how the environment seems or looks
|to allies there is an ever-present ground for joy,
|from the words give thanks in all circumstances,
|we can infer that in all circumstances,
|there is a ground for giving thanks and thanks giving
|furthermore, I believe we can infer
|that we are asked not to close our eyes
|to any of the circumstances of our environment,
|but rather to confront them.
|In deed Paul seems to imply that unless we do confront them,
|we are not adequately comprehending full context
|in which we give thanks or the full meaning
|of giving thanks from the words pray constantly.
|I believe we can infer
|that Paul is saying there is the possibility
|of a conversation taking place
|in which we are involved in the world.
|And that it is a possibility of that conversation
|which opens and leads out on to the ground
|that is ever present source of rejoicing and that ground,
|that is the source of giving thanks in all circumstances.
|And from the words or this is the will of God
|in Jesus Christ for you.
|I believe we may infer that the language
|of that conversation is to be found in Jesus Christ,
|The interpretation of that conversation
|in world indeed he establishes a conversation
|between the ground of joy and Thanksgiving.
|That prophet Paul is ultimately creative
|and indestructible limited only by the openness of mankind,
|to enter into that conversation.
|In one dramatic word elsewhere.
|Paul seeks to get the substance of the conversation
|by saying that Christ is God's yes,
|To all his promises to mankind.
|It is yes, conveyed in the living and live giving image,
|of one who did not get a word off his back
|but saw and seeks, to carry that word back
|into a conversation,
|a conversation with the only one who's yes to life
|can ultimately overcome a devastating
|suspicion of our environment.
|The suspicion that deadly ignore,
|destructive things making circus that can be our word.
|Yes, is the last word,
|The only one who's yes to life can offer that ground of joy,
|which is omnipresent and that ground,
|which renders Thanksgiving a possibility
|in the face of all circumstances.
|This then, I would call Paul's prolegomena to Thanksgiving,
|The reminder are, and the call to a conversation,
|Which conversation all believe he is the crucial ingredient
|in the understanding transfiguring
|and transforming of the total environment
|of Thanksgiving and giving thanks.
|Next Thursday (mumbles)
|It is the conversation without which
|the ecological balance of human and humane life
|and especially the light of Thanksgiving
|and giving thanks is threateningly disturbed.
|Take this prolegomena, rest with it, live with it,
|rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstance,
|pray constantly while this is the will of God
|in Jesus Christ for you.
|In the name of the father and of the son,
|and of the holy spirit, amen
|(sharp worship music)
|All thanks come up to you God
|our silver and our gold (indistinct)
|As the symbol of ourselves,
|In the name of Jesus Christ our lord.
|(sharp worship music)
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