Great Thanksgivings

On the first Sunday in October, in a symbolic act of Christian unity, people in many congregations and many countries around the world will participate in and celebrate communion - a recollection or representation of the meal which preceded Jesus' death and which, for many, is representative of a promised salvation. While it is true that Christianity is fissured by too many disagreements and doctrinal differences, it is even more sadly true that humanity itself is deeply divided by race, religion, ideology, and culture.

And so, on this, the first Sunday of October, we invite you, especially if you are unable to be part of our gathering community, to take a moment to reflect, perhaps over some bread and juice or cheese, crackers, and a goblet of wine, on our responsibility for our salvation, for the freeing of the human spirit, for conferring dignity upon the men, women, and children of our vast and conflicted world and walking humbly that it may, in turn, we conferred upon us. Ultimately, we are responsible only for ourselves, but we are challenged, every day, by what it means to live in right relationship with one another. This challenge calls us to a higher purpose beyond our own introspections and sets before us responsibility for healing the relationship we have with our own self, the relationships we have with those around us, and, as we stretch that circle of care outward, for the healing of our world. We are the people of Pangea, a once-connected world. It is only in our loving that we find salvation. It is only in our loving that will may ever, once again, become one.

"Great Thanksgivings" is offered for use in the quiet of your reflection.

We stand a world apart
from those in other lands
who, too, bow their heads
in full and ripened gratitude
for satisfactions such as ours –
pains relieved,
lessons learned,
hopes renewed.
Their eyes scan strange horizons.
Feet scuff their presence upon distant soils.
The meaning of the words
with which their thanks is lifted
is locked in tongues we may not comprehend.
Their gods don't rise before us;
there are no deities to whom we offer praise.

But human hearts beat with a universal rhythm.
They thrill at beauty, love, and grace.
Pain stamps its matching stain on all our bodies.
Hope, no matter whence it comes,
feels much the same.
We are the people of Pangaea,
Once one, we've staggered far beyond our home,
pushed apart by forces we cannot remember,
to distances that saved us from our fractious selves.
And we have soothed our solitudes
by the stories we have told.
They have whispered tales of privilege to us
and stirred our hearts
to fear those within whom
our common blood flows.
The time has come for our reunion.
Far stronger than our differences,
what makes us one –
our love, our tears, our hungers –
pulls us back toward each other.
Our mythic, riving stories –
useless to the challenges we face –
now start to fade.
Their hold upon us loosens
and we are freed to cast new dreams
into a future we will never see.
May those visions
shine humility before us –
reverence as we ponder one another’s lives.
May they humble us
by what we hold in common,
teach us truth
and give us strength to hear it told.
And may new legends
call us forth to grandeur,
to living large and wonder-filled and free,
and may they build within us
a pledge to seeing in all
a sacred beauty only we,
as the people of Pangaea, 
can name.
May our challenges
be answered only
with compassion and respect.
And may our future be filled
with great thanksgivings offered
by those who walk together
in dignity and love.
Only we can make it so.

©2012 gretta vosper

Donna Lockhart