A simple post today on the eve of the American holiday Thanksgiving.
You may be wondering why I put "American" in that last sentence. It's just a reminder. The holiday we celebrate tomorrow marks the seed, the genesis, the beginning of where this socio-political structure began. It began in barely-discovered countries, with clean and simple natives whose heels caressed the dirt that would become the floors of the homes of our forefathers.
It began with halted conversation, misunderstandings, territories lost and claimed and above all the sort of awkward magic that happens when new people meet new people.
Granted, history tells us it wasn't all magic. Some of it was misery. The unfolding story since that day has been one of love and loss, brothers fighting brother, greed and grace and all things sacred mingling as dance partners among the profane and from time to time being confused for one another. It is the story of humanity. It is the story of the Scriptures, both Hebrew and Greek, and all things converging on the spirits within us crying out for the God we were built to crave and with whom we were designed to dwell.
Tomorrow, as we eat together we should see this event for what it is. It is the closest thing we have to an American passover. It is the horrific and holy beginnings of our heritage and we should give thanks above all things that God has saved us in spite of ourselves. We must be honest about the dark humanity that has walked away from the Pilgrim's table, in one way or another, every day since and yet still shown glimpses of the imago dei - God's visual whisper to the world - in stages and scenes throughout history. We are a spiritually complicated bunch, to be sure.
At Thanksgiving, we enjoy the rich foods and let our souls be mulled with the spices of grace and cinnamon-spark of discipleship that lends flavor to humanity. We give thanks, and in our giving thanks we turn our ears to the cries of God's people in Egypt and we turn our hearts to using the grace we give in our meals to feeding others throughout the calendar year.
We remember those who are gone so that we cherish those who are present with even more fervor.
We take this time, this holiday, for what it is. It is a holy moment. A spiritual formation narrative played in real time that if we care to glance through the mist of our conversations and tryptophan, we'll see God at play in our midst. We can join Him, and there grow in hope and love and transformation.
May the God who elicits unending gratitude be found at your table. We don't welcome Him, we don't have to. He is present just as we are present. We simply must care to look and to give thanks. In giving thanks, may we ward off envy and greed and those things that separate us from God and each other. Come Holy Spirit, turn our eyes to the subject matter of thanks and once again - it's a tradition - save us from ourselves.
soli gloria deo