What does this mean?
Answer - I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them; in addition thereto, clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and homestead, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods; that He provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and preserves me from all evil; and all this out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.
A few years ago, a visitor commented to me after attending our Thanksgiving Day service, “Once you attend a service in a rural church, you come away with an appreciation and a completely different understanding of the term Thanksgiving.” Luther in his explanation of the 1st Article provides for us quite an extensive list of what it means for God to sustain, support and preserve me and all creatures.
These blessings, so necessary for our well-being, are not always appreciated until they are taken from us or we must go without. We are not entitled to them, rather they come to us by the gracious hand of our heavenly Father.
Soon another planting and growing season will be upon us. We do not know what challenges will befall us. Of this, we can be certain, the Lord has promised to richly provide for us, daily, as we need it. He grows the grain from which we get our bread next year. All is provided by our Father’s generous hand.
Almighty God, You bless the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper; we pray the work of farmers and all those who labor to bring food to our table. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruit of the earth in abundance and proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving. Cause all people who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with honor and respect, and may we see by this noble vocation that through them You feed the earth.
Collect for Agriculture, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS