Why wait?

Last evening, I had the privilege to speak at the Interfaith Community Thanksgiving gathering at Temple Beth Israel on Longboat Key. If I were to distill what I said down to a paragraph or two, it would read as follows:

Amidst busy calendars, and all that life demands of us, we pause to give thanks to the God who created us out of the dust of the earth. And it is right and proper that we do so. However, we were created to give thanks and praise every day of our lives, in all that we do, in every situation, and in all times and places. That ought to be our mode of being. Acknowledging God’s love for us, and God’s grace to us, through lives of profound gratitude.

After the slaughter at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, so many churches and congregations voiced the support of and solidarity with, our Jewish sisters and brothers. But, why does it take violence and death to provoke such solidarity? We talk of our willingness to give up our lives for God, and are ever-ready to embrace martyrdom. There is little chance that we will be called upon so to do. Yet we overlook those every-day opportunities to speak truth, love, and grace to others. In locker rooms, school yards, work places, family gatherings, we choose to overlook jokes that are not funny, casual antisemitism, thinly-veiled hatred, hurtful stereotyping. Why wait for a tragedy, when we can speak up now, here, everyday?

Imagine, for a moment, what a powerful and profound witness to the world it would be – to people who do not know God and those who have rejected God – to see people of faith (of all faiths!) living out their lives in an attitude of constant thanksgiving and gratitude, of joy and love… To see people of faith daily refusing to allow words of hatred to go unchallenged by truth and love. How powerful that would be! Then people might say, “So that’s what doing justice looks like! That’s what loving mercy looks like! That’s what it means to walk humbly with God! (Micah 6:8).

A blessed Thanksgiving to you and to yours!
Pastor Blyth