Centro de Alabanza y Adoracion
Gering First UMC
Great West District
Today's Lectionary Text
Come, ye thankful people come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in;
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God’s own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.
(Come, Ye Thankful People Come - UMH #694)
It’s an old and very traditional hymn and it is one of two hymns that I especially associate with the traditions of Thanksgiving. (The other being “We Gather Together.”) For many of us, Thanksgiving is about traditions as much as anything else. For my family, that means extended family gathering to enjoy a meal filled with family favorites from roasted turkey to mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, and dilly bread. But over the years, those traditional foods changed as the family grew. Some didn’t like the dressing that was traditional to us and their versions would appear on the table. Poppyseed bread came with one family member and molded Jell-O salads disappeared with the deaths of the people who brought them.
Traditions do change. They change with the ebb and flow of life. But often we are reluctant to accept change, even if it is for the health and protection of people we love. Today may represent one of those times for you. It is a serious breach in tradition for my family. My niece emailed us last week to “uninvite” us to Thanksgiving dinner at her house because COVID-19 is running wild through central Kansas and we are, once again, on the verge of lockdown. We, instead, will be gathering via Zoom at some point today for the safety of us all. Definitely NOT in keeping with our traditions!
Yet, the real point of Thanksgiving is to give thanks for the blessings given by the merciful God who created, loves, and sustains us. My niece put it this way, “We have EVERYTHING to be grateful for. Time apart absolutely sucks, and isolation is terrible.” But if we accept that we do have everything for which to be grateful, then it follows (at least to me) that thanksgiving really means being thankful for God’s providence in all situations.
So, my family, as well as thousands of others, will alter our traditions today with everyone “safely gathered in” their own homes and look forward to other times when we will be able to gratefully gather in person. I will continue to believe that God my Maker will supply all my needs - and I will give thanks today for the technology that will allow us to spend some time together.
--Rev. Robbie Fall, retired Elder
Prayer for Reflection
God of us all, help us to accept that all traditions are altered over time and as necessity directs. Bless us in our scattered places and bring peace to our hearts as we give thanks this day. Amen.
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