Season’s Meanings: Thanksgiving – Our National Eucharist

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Season’s Meanings: Hallowed, Holly, Holy   This is our second message in our November series – taking a look at holidays and asking if there is anything “holy” about them.  For this Sunday the holiday is “Thanksgiving”.

Cook.  Eat.  Clean up OR watch football.  Leftovers.  (Whatever happened to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?)  And now, we have added yet another option to the annual Thanksgiving Celebration – Go to work.  We aren’t waiting for the Friday after anymore.  It may be that whatever remnants of a family gathering or celebration had remained are now threatened by this new menace – shopping.

Rockwell's "Freedom From Want".

Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want”.

The event that precipitated our national holiday of Thanksgiving takes us back to the 17th century and a celebration that occurred following the autumn harvest in 1621.  With only half of the Mayflower’s  passengers and crew having survived the winter before, this was a feast marking life’s tenacity in the face of death.  It wasn’t explicitly called “Thanksgiving”, but for the Europeans in particular, having the larder full in anticipation of the second winter in this new world must have inspired some sentiments of gratitude.  And for a fleeting moment, newcomers and natives not only tolerated one another.  They helped each other.  Radical hospitality awaited the Plymouth colonists, extended to them by the Wampanoag People (“Indians”, so called).

Cook.  Eat.  Fall in love.  Fall radically, even if only fleetingly, in love.  “Thanksgiving” – perhaps this holiday is a moment during which the very heart of God is revealed to us.  Perhaps it is the American cultural equivalent of Passover, of Eucharist.  Now let us all give thanks … thanks to God

Welcome …

We Pray Together:                            Psalm  111

Scripture sets the stage … Acts 10:1–35

Today’s Message: “Thanksgiving: Our National Eucharist”

We Respond …

Tithes & Offerings – Doxology – UMH #95

Sharing our Life Together with Prayer, Testimony, Announcements

We Sing and Feast …    Wonderful World

In Fellowship, with Blessing

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Ric Elias shares an experience.

Ric Elias shared his story in a TED talk.

Ric Elias shared his story in a TED talk.

Happiness & Gratitude

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Louie Schwartzberg

Louie Schwartzberg

Blessing and Happiness – as shared by Louie Schwartzberg

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.