Ministerial Musings – Thanksgiving Week

Grateful Thanksgiving everyone!  It isn’t always the happiest of times, the holidays, but I hope you can look at this season as a time of gratitude and hope.  There are times when the holidays bring on painful memories and I pray that for you all out there that your memories and experiences will be peaceful and gentle ones.

 

I was privileged to MC the Tri-City Interfaith Council’s annual Thanksgiving Service Monday evening at St. Joseph’s with Shamsa Rafay another Council member.  In this service I was reminded by Pastor Jeff Spencer of how it is up to us to change the narrative we have been raised with about this holiday.  He preached about the false history we have grown to believe, how we have neglected to acknowledge the damage we have done to the First Nations who had always lived here, how the racism and destruction of millions of people were viewed as inconsequential.

It can be so disheartening to review this history and feel the guilt and shame that we must feel on knowing that we did this.  But there is hope.  For we can view our history, acknowledge our participation in it, and vow to take action to rectify and repair what we have done in the past.  One of the reparations I give every November is to donate to the First Nations Development Institute and to the American Indian College Fund.  I have been doing this for over 10 years now and feel that is one way I can make reparations for what my government did in the past.  Our government has not taken steps to repair the damage we have done, so maybe it is time for us to do it.  And it doesn’t have to be to those organizations, those are just examples, but to give to those organizations that are helping Native Americans to recover and begin to thrive could be a first step in helping to mend and to heal the First Nations and ourselves.  For when we carry the scars of what our ancestors wrought, it is a burden that we don’t even know we are carrying.  Reparation heals both sides of the damage.  Our country would benefit with this repair as much as the First Nations would.

 

So let us celebrate this Thursday and keep in our hearts all of those in need, for there are many.  If you can volunteer or donate time or money to those who are truly in need, isn’t that the greatest way to give thanks?  Let not our privilege get in the way of helping others.  Let us be grateful and serve those in need.

Have a Grateful Thanksgiving.

Grateful Blessings to you all,

Rev Jo

What Are You Waiting For?

I officiated the Celebration of Life for Ed Green on Monday, the husband of one of our congregants, Donna.  It was such a lovely way to salute this man who has left our mortal lives.  I feel I was privileged to know him the short time that I did.  This service was filled with proclamations of his good works, his generosity, his kindness and love.  And at the end of the service, after so many had commented on the wonderful hugs that he gave throughout his life, we each were presented with an ornament holding a ribbon the length of his hugs.  I acquired  one for myself and also one for the congregational holiday tree we will be putting up next month.  It is a memory for those who knew him and experienced his hugs in the past.

Death can be a reminder and an impetus on how we live our lives in the moment.  Do you know that friend that you think about often but really never visit or call because we always feel we have more time?  Do you have something on your bucket list that you want to do but haven’t really gotten around to it yet?  Have you told your family you love them lately?

 

What are you waiting for?  Sometimes we just need a reminder of the fleeting, transitory moment of life that we live.  Sometimes it takes something like a tragic loss to spur ourselves into movement.  But should it?  Is there a way to incorporate into our lives a routine of staying in touch with those who mean so much to us.  Ed did do that.  He stayed in touch so that by the very end, he had met with friends and family members and gotten to spend some quality time with them.  I was one of those lucky people in that in this last month, I was privileged to know him.  We were able to have meaningful conversations and were able to connect as fellow human beings.  Which is why we are all here on this planet, isn’t it?

So what are you waiting for?  What could possibly be more important than telling your loved ones you love them, looking at that bucket list and choosing one thing to accomplish that will make you happy?  Take some time this week.  Discover what is meaningful to you.  Spread goodness and kindness around.  And throw in some special hugs for those who need it.

Blessings to you all,

Rev Jo