Sing the hymn again!

Come, ye thankful people, come,

raise the song of harvest home;

all is safely gathered in,

ere the winter storms begin.

 

 

If you drive the roads of Iowa, you know that by now the harvest is, in fact, gathered in, and in nearly all places it has been abundant. To top it off, commodity prices not so poor as many had feared.  Assuredly this is cause for thanksgiving.

 

It is also true, of course, that not very many of us are directly engaged in agricultural. If, like me, your livelihood is only indirectly related to agriculture, then my pastoral counsel is that you still sing the hymn, but sing it metaphorically.

 

richreading 20130502I need Thanksgiving because it challenges my instinct to the dour. I used to see a bumper sticker that I well understood, but still found cringe-worthy: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

 

Maybe, but I’d prefer a slightly no prescription pharmac different take: “If you’re not thankful, you’re not paying attention.”

 

It is true that blessings….at least material blessings…. are not so evenly distributed as what I’d wish, but thanksgiving is not a zero-sum game. It’s right to give thanks even if you’d prefer that the world were ordered a bit differently than it currently is.

 

Perhaps the capacity to joyously – even raucously – give thanks can become one of the underpinnings of justice work. Anger may have its place, but when it excludes joy it is something of which to be wary.

 

In fact, I’m thankful for many, many blessings. You, dear reader, are among those for whom I am thankful.

 

So, sing the hymn. Eat a feast.  Embrace your family and friends.  Take a nap, or watch a game.  Then sing the hymn again.

 

God’s best to you!

 

Rich Pleva
Conference Minister
UCC in Iowa

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