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Thankful Giving

November 23, 2019

This past May we were out wandering around in Rocky when we came across a flock of turkeys! This fellow who was hanging around the old resort near the Fall River entrance is probably thankful that he lives in Rocky and won’t be on anyone’s table on Thursday!

Technically this Sunday is Christ the King Sunday. It is the last Sunday in the season of Pentecost before we move into the season of Advent. To be honest, the Royal and Kingdom language don’t resonate with me. When I attended the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2018 as a Commissioner, I was introduced to some new language. Our Stated Clerk, the Rev, Dr J. Herbert Nelson II did something simple and yet incredible. Instead of talking about Kingdom where imperialism and empires stand over us, he talked about the Kin-dom of God which is all about family and relationship. This is the sort of place where there is no rank or separation into classes.

So, with all of this rumbling around in my heart, I chose to leave imperialism behind and focus on what I believe might be very appropriate as we look to the Advent Pilgrimage.

This brings me back to the Tom Turkey at the top of this blog. Yes, I see the irony of a turkey in Rocky and what many will be feasting on this coming Thursday. Sadly Thanksgiving has become so commercialized. When you look at the fact that the Pilgrims were welcomed by the Indigenous people of this land only to take over and oppress the very ones who welcomed them.

What if we were to think about Thankful Giving instead? It takes the focus off of ourselves and the overindulgence typically associated with this holiday. Instead, being thankful for what the Lord has given us, we seek to share that spirit of thankfulness and love with others.

In the Gospel Reading from John 6:25-35 it appears to me that the people while grateful for the loaves and fish being shared on the seashore, they wanted more. I know how true that can be in my own life. Instead of being grateful for what I have, at times I want more. In all reality, what I should want more of is that closer and deeper relationship with Christ which will then lead me to share the blessings with others.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians (4:4-9) I am reminded that there is something that I should focus on. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8) If I only did this though, while incredibly positive, it would be selfish. This is where verse nine comes into play: Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

What had Jesus taught me to be and to do as a Christ follower? Love the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. And to love my neighbor with all that I am! So, Thankful Giving isn’t so much about me as it is about sharing the Love, Justice, and Mercy of God in Christ. Thankfulness isn’t about me. It is all about loving and serving God with all that God has given!

Dear reader, may this Thanksgiving be more than you expected as you love and serve our Creator!

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