For fans of the Rite I liturgy of Holy Eucharist, the title of this article will likely bring a smile. It is, of course, a portion of the introduction to the Preface of the Great Thanksgiving prayer in Rite I (BCP pg. 333). It follows the Sursum Corda: Lift up your hearts (Latin: lit. upwards hearts). “We lift them up unto the Lord. Let us give thanks unto our Lord God. It is meet and right so to do. It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, holy Father, almighty and everlasting God.”
The Rite I language calls us to recognize that giving thanks at all times and in all places is not only appropriate (meet) and the right thing to do, but it is our duty–a moral obligation. The language of Rite II also describes giving thanks to God as being the right thing to do but describes it also as a joyful thing. There is no mention of duty in Rite II.
I think it is important for us to recognize that giving thanks is both a joy and a duty. It is a joyful thing to acknowledge the blessings that we have received in life. With joy we have received, and we are thankful. But it is also important to recognize that our duty to give thanks calls us to be mindful of our responsibility to the proper use of our gifts, and to tend to our relationship with God who is the source of all gifts.
The bounden duty of giving thanks is the foundation of stewardship.
I bid you all a joyful Thanksgiving. Give thanks with an uplifted heart. And may your thankfulness draw you deeper into relationship with God and inspire you to generosity in sharing your gifts in the service of God’s love as is your bounden duty.