Freemason Information

Thanksgiving Vespers

The first Thanksgiving

All of us at Freemason Information would like to offer you a happy and hearty Thanksgiving. Here is one of my favorite Thanksgiving Blessings from  Arthur R. Herrmann at the Masonic Poets Society.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Oh, Lord, now this we’re thankful for:
The good things life has held in store;
The love of those within our home,
And friends to greet wherever we roam;
The health and strength wherewith to toil,
The bounteous food from freedom’s soil;
We thank Thee for the right to pray
And worship Thee in our own way;
To live within a land that’s free;
For this, dear Lord, our thanks to Thee;
And through these blessings, one by one,
May Thy will, Lord, on earth be done!

This collection of seemingly unrelated passages all seem to speak to the promise of a new world, a “new Jerusalem“, a crowning jewel of the world. It is to that vision that we are thankful for and celebrate this day. I am thankful for my country, its warts, blemishes and all. We daily strive to build our collective city upon a hill.

Happy Thanksgiving.

…for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us…
John Winthrop

“God bless thee, my son; I will give thee the greatest jewel I have. For I will impart unto thee, for the love of God and men, a relation of the true state of Solomon’s House. Son, to make you know the true state of Solomon’s House, I will keep this order. First, I will set forth unto you the end of our foundation. Secondly, the preparations and instruments we have for our works. Thirdly, the several employments and functions whereto our fellows are assigned. And fourthly, the ordinances and rites which we observe.

“The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible….

… I give thee leave to publish it, for the good of other nations; for we here are in God’s bosom, a land unknown.”
Francis Bacon – The New Atlantis.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Revelation 21:1-3

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
– George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Though our mouths were full of song as the sea,
and our tongues of exultation as the multitude of its waves,
and our lips of praise as the wide-extended firmament;
though our eyes shone with light like the sun and the moon,
and our hands were spread forth like the eagles of heaven,
and our feet were swift as hinds,
we should still be unable to thank thee and bless thy name,
O Lord our God and God of our fathers,
for one thousandth or one ten thousandth part of the bounties
which thou has bestowed upon our fathers and upon us.
– from the Hebrew Prayer Book

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
– H.U. Westermayer

Enjoy the blessings of this day, if God sends them, and the evils of it bear patiently and calmly; for this day only is ours: we are dead to yesterday, and we are not yet born to the morrow. When our fortunes are violently changed, our spirits are unchanged, if they always stood in the suburbs and expectation of sorrows and reverses. The blessings of immunity, safeguard, liberty, and integrity deserve the thanksgiving of a whole life.
– Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, Intendant of the Building

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
– Eric Hoffer, Reflections On The Human Condition

Thanks are justly due for boons unbought.
– Ovid

Find the good and praise it.
– Alex Haley

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.
– Charles Dickens

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
– Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863
from the collection of Lincoln’s papers in the Library of America series