November 18, 2021
Thanksgiving Even In the Worst of Times
Thanksgiving Day traditionally is a celebration of the bounty of the harvest. I think even the most optimistic of people today wonder “What bounty?” “What harvest?” Beyond the ongoing national woes, the unrelenting presence of Covid, and those who struggle with significant illness, loneliness, and grief, society seems to bear anxiety about what the future holds.
At times, I find inspiration in very dark places. I am awed by the story about Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran pastor serving Eilenberg, Saxony during the thirty years war that was raging through Germany in the early 1600s.
Robert J. Morgan in his book, Then Sings My Soul, recounts that “Floods of refugees streamed into the walled city of Eilenberg. It was the most desperate of times. The Swedish army encompassed the city gates, and inside the walls, there was nothing but plague, famine, and fear.”* Many pastors died and the strain on tending the sick was tremendous. Some days Martin Rinkart conducted as many as fifty funerals.
Pastor Rinkart risked his life, leaving the city walls to negotiate a truce with the Swedes. He showed such great courage and faith that the hostilities and suffering ended.
Rinkart, knowing there is no healing without thanksgiving, composed this hymn for the survivors of his town.
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices.
Who wondrous things hath done, in Whom this world rejoices.
Who from our mother’s arms, Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.
There are those who practice disciplines of thanksgiving, but I also believe that thanksgiving happens. God sends us blessings in the midst of the dreariness. A beautiful sunset, snow on the mountains, a smile from a stranger, a helping hand, a heartfelt song, a word from scripture. I suggest that when you count your blessings, you start with Jesus Christ. And keep on counting. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Grace and peace,
*Morgan, Robert J. Then Sings My Soul, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003, page17.
Some Concerns that we have:
- Pastor Brad and Dorothy Beeman for comfort and peace at the death of Brad’s mother.
- For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. For those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
- For those who haven’t been vaccinated yet; for all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; and for essential workers.
- For peace in our country.
- For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.