2018 has been giving 2017 a run for its money when it comes to civil dysfunction. Let’s be honest; things aren’t exactly getting better in our political and civil discourse. As a Jesus follower, my predisposition is towards hope, but that’s not exactly an easy path on some days. As we slow down and prepare to eat on Thursday, here are five things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving,
People’s tables that are expanding, not shrinking
As we continue to close ourselves off to those that we perceive to be different than we are, there are individuals, religious communities, community organizations, etc. who are growing more committed to being welcoming to all people. The strength of this country has always been room at the table for more people who seek to call this home. There is more to be done, but many are doing good work each day to make this a more, not less, welcoming nation.
Kindness and grace in day-to-day interactions
Despite all the rhetoric, people are still generally kind towards one another. Sure, we get frustrated with each other from time to time, but that pales in comparison to the simple acts of kindness and grace we offer daily to others. There is good in each of us. Let’s not miss the opportunities present in each day that provide the opportunity for kindness and grace.
Artists are making beautiful music, art, and writing
In the midst of muck in so many places, there is an abundance of great music, art, film, theatre, and writing that inspires and challenges while bringing beauty to our lives.
The depth of emerging prophetic voices
I don’t necessarily mean the mainstream ones you know. I mean the ones you see each week in your local pulpit. The local church pastor has always wrestled with the tension between pastoral and prophetic. There are many great voices in the local church who are claiming their prophetic identity while doing the work of shaping disciples through preaching. I believe that this important work is still the best way to shape people to bring wholeness to our world.
Religious communities doing the work of the holy in the world
Once again, I don’t necessarily mean the ones you know about. There are thousands of churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. in local communities doing important and necessary work. From local food pantries to advocacy to providing spaces of welcome, people’s lives are being saved and transformed by religious communities we will never hear about. Thanks be to God for the courage and conviction to follow the way of love.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!