Where has the year gone? It’s hard to believe that Christmas madness
is just around the corner. It gives me the shudders even to think of it. Life is so much more then commerce and buying and selling and sales and returning “stuff”. And that’s just what it is…STUFF, of no real consequences or importance. But oh, Thanksgiving is so much more. It is a time of gratitude for the blessings of life, for family and friends, health and safety, our faith and this congregation.
It is also a time to be mindful that our bounty as a nation was founded on the genocide of our indigenous first peoples. A sad reminder that life is a mixed bag, good and evil entwined as part of our DNA. We celebrate our good fortune at the groaning board while people in Puerto Rico go homeless and hungry, no electricity and little water to sustain life. All the while our President threatens to cut off the insuffcient flow of vital aid because he thinks he is not getting the proper personal credit he deserves.
In this time of Thanksgiving and the approaching Christmas season it is time for us to slow down, take a deep breath and think about all we are grateful for. So, let us celebrate, but remember that our blessings are an incomplete picture for there are those who suffer. We people of faith owe those who have less: less joy, less freedom, less equality, less peace, a chance to share in the bounty of America. We should not have people dying each year because medical care is available only to the rich. People should not go hungry while we waste unfathomable amounts of food each year. According to the Guardian, Americans waste 60 million tons of food valued at 160 billion dollars of produce a year. That is 1/3 of all our food stuff. How can we allow that to happen when neighbors are going hungry?
To be fair and balanced (pun intended) we in this church individually and collectively do our part. We donate our garden produce to those in need. We help our members when they are hungry and sick. The challenge is the immensity of the need. It can overwhelm. When I think about all that needs to be done I am reminded of the painting, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch and its intense colors of despair. That is the way I sometimes feel in our quest to end human suffering.
But when I stop my self-indulgent complaining I realize that we can all do something no matter how small. “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in fnding something to live for”. (Isaiah Hankel). That is what this congregation, this faith is all about…helping us find a purpose in life, to leave this world a bettler place than we found it.
In that hope, and it is hope, is to address Margaret Mead’s words, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, commited citizens can change the world. It is the only thing that ever has”. If we can do that, we can save the world and then truly celebrate with gratitude the strength of the human community. That possibility alone can give us hope. Together we can offer hope for the downcast and downtrodden. We can and do matter and for that we can be eternally grateful. Out of that place we can celebrate with Thanksgiving.