As we gather in our homes this Thanksgiving, we want to express our deep appreciation. Andy Andrews wrote, “Too many times I have offered up the prayers of a beggar – always asking for more and forgetting to give thanks. I do not wish to be seen as a greedy child, unappreciative and disrespectful. My God has bestowed on me many blessings, and for these I will remember to give thanks. I am grateful for sight, breath, and sound. If in my life there is a pouring out of blessing beyond that, I will be grateful for the miracle of abundance.”
We are grateful for those who set an example of mutual support and celebration. In 1621 only 53 pilgrims of the original 102 lived to join in this traditional harvest thanksgiving, and those surviving immigrants owed their lives to the Wampanoag tribe and in particular: Squanto and Samoset. Squanto was a tribesman kidnapped by earlier settlers who sent him to England. He had every reason to hate these Pilgrims, but he took up Chief Massasoit’s charge and joined with Samoset to use their native abilities and English skills to save the Pilgrims.
The Pilgrims, and those traveling with them, left us something else of value: the Mayflower Compact. They agreed that they would:
- remain loyal subjects to King James, despite their need for self-governance
- create and enact “laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices…” and abide by those laws
- create one society and work together to further it, and
- live in accordance with the Christian faith
We invite you to pause and consider examples of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags. Today we have a nation composed of many different peoples united in a common purpose and enjoying the rights boldly stated in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. The abundance on our dinner tables this Thanksgiving will feed our bodies but consider how this nation supports your deepest values: freedom of worship and conscience, freedom to gather and speak, freedom to pursue happiness in your own way, freedom in your person and property, and so much more. We are grateful for Gods’ blessings and for Squanto’s example of mutual support – we are more alike than different.
We pray God’s blessings on you and your family – today and always.