“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
During this weekend, many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving with family, food and fellowship. Some of us might travel a long way to be with family. This means that family is important that you would make the time to travel to eat together. What is the food that you hope will be on the table? Turkey, mashed potatoes, or pumpkin pie? Or whom do you want to sit beside and talk together with to have a good time?
So, what are you most thankful this year? As always, Thanksgiving is a complex time, if your life has been hard? How do you says thanks if your parent has died, or you have lost your job, or you are living with conflict within your family? What if it is hard to sit down at the family table, when you are not talking to your brother? How do you thank God, or the Spirit or the Man Upstairs when things do not go well?
It is a mystery to me.
In 2004, my best friend died of ALS ( or Lou Gehrig’s disease ). It still remains a question for me that he would have to suffer in this way. For two or three years his body deteriorated, until he just stopped breathing. He retained his sense of humour, and his mind was sharp, and he had hope until the end that a cure would be found . But it did not happen. He died at the age of 46, leaving behind a wife and two young boys. I do not know why it still affects me with emotion. He was my best friend, and we played hours and hours of ball hockey with each other. His memory for birthdays was astounding. He was the first person I played scrabble with, and he was very good. We never went to the same school; he was Catholic and I was Mennonite. He was my best friend
It is hard to give thanks to God for this situation, even after 14 years. Even if you do not believe in a higher power, you might struggle with the senselessness of it all.
This weekend is also World Communion Sunday. As churches, we are invited to think of us all over the world, celebrating the Thanksgiving meal together. In Greek, the language of the New Testament, the word for communion is eucharisto (or giving thanks). I give thanks for a community that has allowed me to ask difficult questions about life, disease, healing and death. I would always hope that our church communities would be open and inviting to all people. I know we have a ways to go yet.
At that last supper, Jesus knew someone in the room was going to betray him to the powers of the Empire, but he invited everyone to take the bread and the cup as part of the ending of the meal. Who must we invite to the meal, or what question of life and death are we able to ask around the table this Thanksgiving? Everyone can come, THANKS BE TO GOD. AMEN