Worship with us on Thanksgiving Day
Holy Eucharist
Thursday, Nov. 28 at 10 a.m.

by the Rev. Jim Purdy

jim purdy - communionFor years, I have wondered what connects our Thanksgiving with that of the Pilgrims three-hundred and ninety-two years ago. Theirs was gratitude for deliverance from starvation. Ours is gratitude for abundance. Is there a link between our affluence and their privation? If there is a link, a connection, what can we learn from it?

Thanksgiving is something we must do. It is a feeling, an attitude, a posture toward life, but it has about it a kind of “therefore.” I am thankful, therefore… We are grateful, therefore… Something must follow from gratitude. A thankfulness that produces no action is incomplete, defective, unfinished.

It seems to me that the link between the Day of Thanksgiving in 1621 and the one in 2013 is “sharing.” The Pilgrims’ dinner was a common meal. Each household brought to the table what it could, and they rose from their tables satisfied.  They were thankful, and they shared. Thanksgiving requires completion in action. Sharing is one way to complete Thanksgiving. I am grateful, therefore I share.

There are two kinds of sharing:  one is simple, local, easy; the other is complicated, global, difficult.

First, local sharing. Prayers, concern, consideration, clothing, food, companionship, all pour out of the households of Grace Church as expressions of gratitude for God’s blessings. That’s an important and significant part of sharing. It is also relatively easy. It doesn’t cost much, and the rewards are gratifying and immediate.

Global sharing is different. As a nation, we seem to have a voracious appetite for the world’s resources. It’s an indisputable fact that we are taking more than our share. That is not the way of gratitude. It is not a lifestyle that the planet can provide its population or even the four and one-half percent of it we Americans represent.

A friend tells me that the Buddhists have a word for it:  “greed.” I am guilty of greed, and, I suspect, most of us are.  What can we do about it? If we are grateful for the home God has entrusted to us on planet Earth, we can vow to simplify our lives, reduce our share, leave more of the earth’s bounty for others.

It is not easy. It is complex. It is difficult. The rewards are not immediate. They are, at best, long-term, slow in coming, difficult to quantify. And global sharing is costly, costly in the comfort and conveniences we have come to expect.

Another friend reminds me that there are two ways to be rich, to be wealthy:  One is to have lots of money. The other is to have few needs.

On Thanksgiving Day, I invite you to join me in asking ourselves:  What do I really need? really need? It is our choice.  What we need is our decision.

         Our hearts are filled with gratitude, dear God, for the gifts of life itself
and for every blessing entrusted to us.

         Silence in us every voice but your own, we pray.

         Speak the word you have for us.

         And give us faith to hear it and courage to live it; in Jesus’ Name.   Amen.

 

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