Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Table of Plenty


     Today in this great nation we pause "to give thanks" for the blessings that we have received.  The stories of the early days of our presence in this land tell of such days - with the pilgrims of New England, the Jamestown Colony of Virginia, and I recently read of such a gathering in what is now Florida by the Spanish settlers in Saint Augustine.  Those gatherings often included those who were not a part of "the" family, but who lived here already, and in many cases provided insight on survival in a new land.  These gatherings usually took place at harvest time and celebrated the completion of the preparations to survive for a while longer.  These gatherings were rarely a celebration of untold abundance, but usually followed a devastating and harsh year or two of not having enough, of barely surviving.  These gatherings always took place around a table and the gathering of the family with friends, old and new.  These gatherings always paused to give thanks ... to the Almighty Lord, to God.  Even those that were not religious knew the value of acknowledging that higher power.

     For those of us who are people of Faith, giving thanks must be second nature.  Realizing how we are gifted and blessed is paramount to understanding who we are and who God is.  Our gathering around a table as family to give thanks is something that we do often, at least weekly at the Sunday Eucharist (a word that means "to give thanks"), and not only on this Thursday in November.

     There is a hymn that we sing entitled "Come to the Feast" which goes something like this ...
Come to the feast of heaven and earth,
come to the table of plenty;
God will provide for all that we need,
here at the table of plenty.

     As you gather around your table to share the plenty that we have been blessed with, remember the other feast at the other table that we gather around on the Lord's Day, and pledge to be faithful to giving thanks ... not only on this Thanksgiving Day but on every day of our lives, and not only at this table, but at the Lord's Table where God provides all that we need.

      Our Table of Plenty and Table of Life at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton

     My sister Janie and I will be dining out and sharing a Thanksgiving buffet at Carson's Premiere Catering in Scottdale which is operated by Tim Carson, a friend.  Janie works in retail, and as everyone who does knows, "these are the times that try men's souls".  She worked late yesterday and goes in tonight at around ten, thus not having time to cook (or rest).  The only problem in eating out is that there are no leftovers to nibble on.  Disappointing, but good for the wasteline.
     Another Thanksgiving memory that I have and want to share is that while on Sabbatical in the Fall of 1996 in Berkeley, some in our program were from Canada.  We got to celebrate both the Canadian and the United States Thanksgiving Days, which we did with gusto.  Good memories.

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