• St. Luke's ELCA

Happy Thanksgiving - Happenings 11.23.20

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:15-17

As I begin writing the Happenings for this week it seems as though I may have drawn the “short straw.” Certainly, I must write something credible about Thanksgiving yet do it in the context of our present world situation. At this moment, thankfulness is not the dominant thought rolling about in my brain. The task is daunting and tinged with a bit of genuine anxiety. Certainly, you would expect I would provide some meaningful way to interpret the incomprehensible anguish and sorrow that permeates our world, while still presenting you with a reasonal pollyannic view of Thanksgiving Day 2020. Frankly that would be a disingenuous and not so helpful an undertaking if that were to be my primary goal. In all honesty, “Giving thanks in all circumstances” is not a phrase that is easily accepted or grasped, especially when viewed in context with all our real and present dangers. For just a brief moment may I try to reflect on that entity we call God; to see if we might add just a bit of dimension and perspective to that question.

Most of us readily admit to possessing a finite mind which is the only tool we bring into a discussion of the immense proportions of God. For starters, we live on a planet, He lives in the universe and ostensibly is the universe. Adding to the difficulty, He is the Infinite one, the Alpha and Omega, the great I Am, and omnipotent… we are greatly disadvantaged in any discussion of that magnitude! My limited perspective for seeing life through dualities like young - old, up - down, light - dark, male - female, liberal - conservative, good - evil, is not consistent with His seeing everything as a unified whole. A recent event graphically pointed out to me the duality in which we live. It happened to be the moving, online ceremony which took place on all Saints Sunday, at St Luke’s. We witnessed the symbolic lighting of candles for our beloved departed Saints juxtaposed with the Baptisms of all our newly born brothers and sisters in Christ… life and death - death to life. While having this truly wonderful experience of duality, can we just begin to comprehend the depths of God’s plan?

I must admit, that at any given moment, I can get quite disgusted with myself when I realize how transactional I become when viewing my life. God… if I live a “good” life should I not reap some benefits like health, happiness and prosperity? And Yes, if I do wrong will you please forgive me. Over simplification of dualities and transactions hinder my seeing God as the unifier of all things. It keeps me from seeing the power of the One who takes our dualities and unifies them on our behalf, as was so wonderfully demonstrated on All saints Day. “(You) are the light and in (You) there is not darkness,” 1 John 1:5.

My prayer of Thanksgiving: God, I am humbled and thankful that one so incomprehensible knows me, cares about me and even has me in the expanse of His unity; and, thank you for the comforting words from the 23rd Psalm for this unusual Thanksgiving week .

Thanks be to God,

Paul Harshner

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