jpmurad

Emptying and Thankfulness

In Eclipse on November 27, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Another Turkey Day!  Last year at this time, Lindsay and I spent Thanksgiving on the small island of Vieques to the south east of Puerto Rico (coincidentally a small island to the southeast of the US).  We at an American Turkey dinner in the upper room restaurant of a guesthouse called Tradewinds.  We had a perfect view overlooking the Caribbean sunset from an enclosed balcony.  What a honeymoon!

Lindsay and I will spend our day today in Huntington Beach with her parents enjoying a standard Turkey day Menu: Green Bean Casserole, Sea Salt and bacon-brine Turkey, sweet potatoes covered with sweet crunchy goodness, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I was reminded this morning that it was originally instituted by Abraham Lincoln during the time of the Civil War.  It was an institution designed to remember God’s goodness and to turn back to him (as a country); for thanking him for his provision and care for us.  I was reminded about how thankful I am for story.

When I was in first grade, I brought one of my favorite books to my first grade teacher to be read to the class.  All of us took turns bringing in books for our teacher to read to the class.  One of my classmates brought in a story that I was familiar with and also liked; an illustrated version of Jonah and the Whale.  My teacher politely explained to my friend that she was not permitted to read that story to the class.  Thinking about it now, the story would need to invoke the faithfulness of God, despite Jonah’s wanderings.  How would I respond to the boy’s request if I risked offending some of the children’s parents by reading their kids the story.

I could wander into the familiar territory of muttering about why ‘God’ has been excluded from schools.  I actually began to wonder why the name of ‘God’ invokes such a bitter taste in the lives of many.  Then, I thought of religious services and Sunday church gatherings, which have become focused on liturgy and doctrine.  These services have promised wholeness, but not met the deep need and hunger of our culture; to be connected to a wild, thriving, powerful and graceful God.  It is as if our ‘way’ of doing church has caused such a distaste on other areas of culture that the name of ‘God’ would no longer be welcome in those venues.

And I situate myself into a man-made box and rehearse my righteousness until it festers.  Those around me cry out in need, resigning themselves in bitterness toward God’s followers, who have not led them to healing or wholeness.  And God, longing to unveil his power and love, sees my preference toward comfort and false security.

I am thankful for Lindsay and for her parents.  I am thankful for my family members (parents, brothers, sisters, g-parents, aunts and uncles).  I am thankful for writing and the opportunity to move toward greatness.  I am thankful for adventures and the wild.  I am thankful for mysteries and deep musings.  I am thankful for wisdom and reading and new opportunities.  I am thankful for Alandria and the story of Drenian; how it continues to unfold.  I am greatful for discipline and a Father who cares about me.  I am thankful for movies and 24 and Heroes.  I am thankful that we have value, even with our ‘powers’.  I am thankful that life is bigger than what we do.  I am thankful for rest and a day to remember.  I am thankful for our Father, who wakes me up in the morning and provides for me throughout the day.

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