Fishers UMC Blog

So Much To Be Thankful For

There is an exercise we do every few years with our jr high and sr high students at Fishers UMC to help drive home the idea of Thanksgiving. We ask students to write down a list of everything they own. Everything. How many pairs of socks are in your drawer? How many songs do you have downloaded on your computer, on how many electronic devices? It's a bit tedious and it takes a while, but students start writing and thinking about everything they have.

But in the middle of it we expand it a little. Don't just go by what you own, what about your family? How many cars, how many forks are in the silverware drawer, etc.

And after a few minutes of that we expand it even more. What do you have access to? Within fifteen minutes of your house how many grocery stores are there? Restaurants? Schools? Mechanics?

In the middle of this process the same thing always happens. Sometimes it happens in the first section, sometimes in the last section, but it happens every single time. Everyone goes through this same emotion.

Overwhelmed.

It becomes too hard to do. Pause and think about that for a second, we own and have access to so much that to list it all and think about it is overwhelming. If you don't believe me, take a few minutes and try to do it yourself. Be incredibly specific, don't just say "movies", how many movies do you own (physical and digital)?

We are incredibly blessed. We have so much to be thankful for. How can we not thank God and give back to Him looking at all that He as done for us and given us? How can we not help those who are less fortunate than us? How can we not be thankful.

On Thursday (or whenever you plan to celebrate) take a moment and just be thankful. You don't need to make a speech at the dinner table or make everyone say what they are thankful for. Just you, take a moment in the craziness, look around, and realize how much you have to be thankful for. Then take a moment and thank the One who is always in control and blesses us in every way imaginable.

You are good to everyone, and you take care of all your creation. All creation will thank you, and your loyal people will praise you. (Psalm 145:9-10, CEV)

Troy Richards
Director of Sr. High Student Ministries & Modern Worship

Healing Divisions

1 Peter 3:8 — "Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble."

If there is one thing we can agree on right now in the United States it is that we have a lot of feelings about our recent election.  As I write this people are protesting the presidential results; while others feel as though their voice has been heard.  From a political perspective, I suppose we will be talking about this election for a long time as the one that couldn’t be predicted.  What I was most aware of Tuesday evening was a deep grief.  Grief about the division in our country.  Grief that we as a people are so deeply entrenched in what we believe, we neglect the thoughts and concerns of others.  Grief that another perspective is now the enemy. 

Where is sympathy?  Where is love?  Compassion?  Humility?  We, as people of faith, are called to be in relationship with one another and those around us with these qualities.  Wednesday morning I had to admit that I have not sought out the struggles of those who disagree with my political choices.  My choices were based on my experiences and the experiences of those I encounter in our congregation and in my counseling office.  Those experiences are important.  I know people with very real uncertainty.  But if I lose humility in my zealous advocating for those needs, I neglect the other voices and discount their experiences. 

If we are to learn anything from this election we have to start listening to one another.  We have to hear those other voices.  And even if we don’t agree we must have compassion and sympathy for the struggles we don’t understand.  It’s easy for us to blame politicians for the hateful rhetoric, but the reality is we are all guilty.  We have all bought in.  We don’t need Washington D.C. to fix the issues that divide us; we need kindness. 

So this is the way I am resolving my grief from Tuesday night.  Kindness.  That’s it.  This hit me Wednesday as I waiting for my much needed caffeine at the Starbucks drive thru.  Sitting there I made the decision that we all have an obligation to heal the divisions in our country.  So I paid for the car behind me.  And it felt good.  It felt like a small gesture that might make another person smile.  And it reminded me that I have, we have, the power to be agents of healing.  Be kind.

Rev. Jill Buckler
Pastor of Congregational Relations
Posted by Jill Buckler with

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