November 20, 2016: Giving Thanks in a World Gone Mad

Posted on : Nov 17th, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

With all the negativity and hate happening around us, it is hard to enter into the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Timothy Murphy, the Executive Director of Progressive Christians Uniting, wrote these words:

Giving Thanks in a World Gone Mad

Giving thanks in the midst of dark times is a core insight of the Christian tradition; we need to practice it.

It is understandable that many feel that now is not the time to give thanks. Our country seems to be going insane with neo-fascist rhetoric. Persons running for the highest office in the land fan the flames of explicit anti-Muslim, anti-Black, and anti-immigrant hatred and violence. There is talk of creating databases for all Muslims and torturing suspected terrorists regardless of its effectiveness. Black persons are being killed by police in the streets and Black Lives Matter protestors are being shot in cold blood by white supremacists.

We don’t give thanks to ignore all that’s wrong with our world but to help us keep walking when we feel the tug of despair….We need to give thanks for the faithfulness of God, who walks with us in the midst of suffering, cries out with us in our distress, and inspires us to pray with our feet and hands so we can be the welcoming presence of grace to others. We need to give thanks.

Ironically, Tim wrote those words last Thanksgiving and yet, how relevant they still remain.

Someone asked me why I believe so strongly in God and in a God of justice. I replied, “If I believed in anyone else, it would make them God, and certainly even if they are the President of the United States (Democrat or Republican), I’m not going to give them that kind of ultimate power.” Note to self: neither Barack Obama, nor Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is God. Only God is God. For that I am truly thankful!

In the midst of Israel’s greatest struggles, they ultimately always turned to God. Sometimes – many times – it took them a long time before they recognized that only God’s values were going to get them out of the mess they were in; but eventually they changed their ways.

Likewise, in the Christian tradition, we have a long history of not following the way of Jesus until we ultimately realize his way of justice, love and peace is the only way that offers enduring value.

So, in the midst of “a world gone mad,” we still give thanks to God for reminding us that only God is God, and for that we can be truly Thankful!

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

Dan

 

~This Sunday’s Scripture~

Luke 17: 11-19

“Weren’t ten cleansed?Where are the other nine?”

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’

When Jesus saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’

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