Sometimes I read something that’s just so good, it fills a hole in my heart. It says what I’m thinking. It kicks my butt. It calls me out. It keeps me honest. It reminds me that the Spirit is always at work. And, I almost always wish I’d written it.
Today is one of those days...
It’s just before Thanksgiving and things are a mess. The Halloween decorations are still out. The pumpkins are rotting. The news stinks of abuse and cover-up. Also, a few parents are just now realizing that the kids will be out of school all week. It’s just before Thanksgiving, and we have misplaced all of our gratitude, to say the least.
It’s just before Thanksgiving, but not all of us can count on stuffing and sweet potatoes and gravy and turkey on Thursday. Some of us can’t count on dinner today. In the middle of a season so often characterized by excess and indulgence and overconsumption, remind us that hungry children live in our neighborhoods. Hungry children. Just before Thanksgiving, Holy One, may we remember what Jesus said about the time he was hungry and the faithful gave him something to eat.
It’s just before Thanksgiving and we are rearranging the chairs. Again. There is an empty chair where someone should be, but isn’t. We are surprised by how much it hurts, despite living with loss every day. Our hearts our broken. How can the holidays possibly happen in the midst of such grief? And we know, that there will still be an empty place at the table no matter how we arrange the place settings. Just before Thanksgiving, Holy One, comfort us with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
It’s just before Thanksgiving and we’re trying to decide how to navigate broken relationships. The kids must be dropped off at the ex’s house. The in-laws can be impossible. And we've all made promises not to bite our tongues anymore about politics because look where it got us. And then there are our own selves. Just before Thanksgiving, Holy One, grant us grace for the ones who drive us crazy, including ourselves.
It’s just before Thanksgiving, God, but we know there is still time - time for compassion, time for mercy, time to apologize and to forgive, time for celebrating and grieving. Time for extending an invitation. Time for reevaluating, reorganizing, and recommitting. There is still time to do some good in the world. Be with us, Holy One, as we find our gratitude - just before Thanksgiving - and then help us stay with the feeling. Amen.
--The Rev. Lori Walke, Associate Pastor, Mayflower Congregational UCC
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
My colleague, classmate, friend.
I’ll just leave it there.
Comfort and peace to you this Thanksgiving,