Word Change

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give (him/God/our) thanks and praise.

What we say depends on the church we are in. Some churches stick with the original him – either for reasons of tradition or for the comfort of the worshipers.

In other churches, the original him has been altered to a gender neutral God. God isn’t male or female, or God is both male and female, so using a proper noun instead of a gendered pronoun is one way of reflecting this truth. Another might be to alternate between saying him and her.

In still other congregations, the direct object of our thanks and praise disappears, replaced by an our to describe the thanks and praise. A genderless plural adjective reflects the worshipers; God as the object of our thanks and praise is implied from the sentence above.

The word change is important, but I don’t think it’s the heart of the exchange. For me, it’s the call to thank God and praise God every minute, every day, every week. There are no exceptions. It is right to thank God and praise God, regardless of our particular circumstances on any given day.

There’s a theological idea that says humanity’s special place in creation has nothing to do with our geographical or temporal location in the last few seconds of a billions of years old creation process. As self conscious and articulate creatures, it is our responsibility and privilege to be the universe’s self-awareness. We are the universe knowing itself as a beloved creation. There is no other response to this self-knowledge than humility; there is no other response to the God who created everything than praise and thanks.

For such a truth, perhaps It is right to give God our thanks and praise would be best…

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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