CAPA Corner: Give Thanks Every Day

By  | 
    It was the tradition of the small town in Ohio where I first served as pastor to gather on Thanksgiving Eve for an ecumenical service.  We always asked the preacher who most recently moved into town to preach.    The choirs would form a unified choir to sing a hymn and the host congregation provided refreshments.  We rotated locations for the service, so we had the opportunity to see each other’s settings for ministry.  All was well.
    But over the years, it became increasingly difficult for a choir to form.   More and more people were choosing to travel on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
    So, a practical decision was made to hold the annual Thanksgiving service on the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving.   What an outcry!  The editor of the local newspaper was outraged!  “How dare the planning team change the annual Thanksgiving community service?”  She demanded a justification for holding the Thanksgiving service on a Tuesday!  I remember holding the phone some distance from my ear as she ranted and raved about the change.
    As a young pastor, I did not know how to begin to calm her down. Slowly I began to reply, “Well, I would hope every day might be a day to give God thanks.  I believe God rejoices whenever we set aside our differences long enough to focus on the One who is the Giver of all gifts.”  The conversation did not last much longer.  I doubt if I changed her opinion.  
    Ultimately, it is not about the turkey, pumpkin pie, and football.  It is about offering thanks to the One who has blessed us with life itself, loved ones, opportunities to use our gifts to serve others, and so many other blessings.   Each day we take a breath is a day worthy of being called Thanksgiving. 
Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade
St. Augustine Episcopal Church