We live in times which many feel are the best of times ever because of the internet, big gains in medical research enabling people to live longer and healthier lives, opportunities to travel like never before. There are also those who clap
their hands as the stock market keeps on rising. There is something true to this. It would make me say in the words of Charles Dickens:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…
And yes, on another level, it is the worst of times: When a gunman goes into the mall, or LAX airport, or Newtown. When countries like Egypt are in chaos and over 100,000 people have died in Syria. It’s the worst of times when, as recently as this morning, you can rip a headline from the front pages of the newspaper, about a bullying case in the N.F.L. where the Miami Dolphins have done horrendous things to Jonathan Martin, one of their team mates. Put differently, we are witnessing a culture of abuse that touches lives in large and small ways, which seems to be aimed at diminishing someone.
As I look forward to Thanksgiving, our national holiday that means a lot to me, I am reminded that while I have so much to be thankful for, I am also witnessing a world of anger and rage, of self-loathing and disconnectedness. In some way the church has always sent a message to our world and also to our culture that we need to approach life with grateful hearts. Our actions need to come out of the thankfulness that we are privileged people who have much to give. Too often we always see the glass as half- empty. Too often many step aside to let others do it, hiding in the pews and not stepping up to work towards a culture that promotes growth and not diminishment, compassion and not hate, forgiveness and not resentment, generosity rather than stinginess.
This Thanksgiving, before you gather to take a bite of turkey or lift a champagne glass, be at our altar with a grateful heart, remembering all the people and things in your life that make you thankful.