The following meditation was written and delivered for the Community Thanksgiving Eve Service at St. Paul’s Church in Hanover on Wednesday, November 23, 2005.
Read Psalm 65:9-14.
Shouts of joy! And why not? They have been blessed with abundance. There’s flocks in the pastures, and grain in the valley. There should be shouts of joy!
I got a phone call today from a church member looking for someone who could benefit from a cooked Thanksgiving meal. We found someone. I talked with the same church member later today, and she told me how the individual shouted for joy over the blessing that had been brought to her.
“God is good!” I can hear the woman saying. And He is. He has blessed us with many opportunities of thankful praise for the blessings bestowed upon us daily.
But today I was also reminded of those who are not shouting. A man came by my office today, as well, looking for some assistance. The last few weeks have been rough and he didn’t have enough money to pay his bills and buy groceries. I made some phone calls and worked something out for him so that he would be able to go to the store and get food for him and his family. As he sat in my office, though, he began to share with me some of this life story. How he missed his parents, especially at this time of year, who have both passed on. How he tries to make ends meet and do the best he can. How he has struggled to take care of his ill son for the past few years. And how work has not been the best since the weather has gotten colder. He wasn’t shouting. He was tired and worn and hungry.
But he was thankful. Thankful for a comfortable place to sit and reflect. Thankful for the family he has. Thankful to find someone who would listen. Thankful for his faith in Jesus Christ.
C. A. Hall has been attributed to saying, “Sow a thought, and you reap an act. Sow an act, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” This man’s destiny lies in his faith in God. His thoughts, actions, and character are all reflections of his faith. Though he may not know where his next meal is coming from, he knows the Bread of Life. Though he may not know where his next job will be, he knows Who holds tomorrow.
A Latin American theologian tells this story:
“A woman of forty, but who looked as old as seventy, went up to the priest after Mass and said sorrowfully: ‘Father, I went to communion without going to confession first.’ ‘How come, my daughter?’ asked the priest. ‘Father,’ she replied, ‘I arrived rather late, after you had begun the offertory. For three days I have had only water and nothing to eat; I’m dying of hunger. When I saw you handing out the hosts, those little pieces of white bread, I went to communion just out of hunger for that little bit of bread.’ The priest’s eyes filled with tears. He recalled the words of Jesus: ‘My flesh is real food . . . whoever feeds on me will draw life from me’ (John 6:55, 57).”
During this season of thanks, may our prayers and meditations reflect those things which are blessings, but also with those who are not shouting. Amen.