In preparation for this year’s Thanksgiving prayer sonnet, I thought some more about the last verse of last year’s text: 1 Chronicles 16:34 — “O give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good; for his extravagant kindness is everlasting.” Here are some of those thoughts and the prayer which followed.
The term “good” indicates that some situation or object is ideally suited to its purpose; that is, perfectly appropriate for its intended use. God is good, in the abstract, in that he is ideally suited to act as the supreme being, and, concretely, in that he performs actions which are ideally suited to accomplish all his purposes. Indeed, in Scripture many uses of the phrase “God is good” seems to imply more than just a theoretical affirmation; rather, the phrase implies practicality: i.e. “God is good TO ME.” Thus writers urge that thanks are due to a good God, not because of how he exists apart from creation, but because his gifts to his creatures are ideally suited to the well-being of their recipients. Also with respect to himself, these actions are good in that they are ideally suited to his purpose to externalize his holiness (a term which encapsulates the value of all his perfections).
Primeval deeps submitted to commands
For order as you separated land and sea;
So your creations spread across the lands,
And reveled in your liberality.
Exuberant extravagance extends
The fullness of your goodness everywhere;
And ev’ry creature born today depends,
As then, upon your gracious daily care.
Rejoicing in the goodness of your grace,
We celebrate your wisdom and your might:
Each gift so suitable for time and place,
Ideally formed for our intense delight.
With all our hearts we raise our thanks today,
And bless you for the goodness you display.
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