Friday, November 17, 2017


Hi There !

So, how far out of your way would you go for a really good meal?

Next door, next town, across state lines?

Well, AAA projects that this coming week 48.7 million of us here in the states

will go way out of our way, travel long distances, for a really good meal -

Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.

And a really good meal it is, probably the best of the year,

with all the traditional delights: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce,

salads, vegetables and pies galore,

and all of it  complimented by a rich variety of family favorites.

My father always asked for pearl onions in cream sauce.

I like mashed and buttered rutabaga.

The table overflows.

So do the stories, anecdotes, reminiscences, teasing, laughing.

Life and love are liberally shared gathered around the Thanksgiving table.

Definitely a meal worth going way out of our way for.

( Yes, Miss Caton, - my sixth grade teacher -

I know we're not suppose to end a sentence with a preposition ) .

Actually, Thanksgiving is our

National Holy Communion.

It's a real Eucharist.

In Greek, " eucharistia " means thanksgiving,

and the fourth Thursday of November is rooted in  just that.

Immigrants to these shores 

( there were no travel bans on white, English speaking immigrants at the time )

were  thankful that they had survived their "Passover"

from religious intolerance and persecution in England

to a promised land of faith freedom here.

They shared a meal of thanks with the original Americans,

who had helped them survive the harshness of resettlement.

Both groups had to go way out of their way to accept each other

and then share that first Thanksgiving meal.

There was a wide diversity to traverse culturally, ethnically, and religiously.

The Puritans had to accept rough, non-Christian "primitives."

The native Americans stretched.

They did not require the "foreigners" to abandon their English language,

their distinctive garb (the of hajab of the day ), nor their rather stern version of Christianity.

They had aided the new arrivals in their "resettlement" - no quotas by the way -

and now joined in to share a meal of thanks.

It was indeed a Holy Coming Into Union.

In many ways our Thanksgiving these days is not only rooted in the experience of Passover and

that of the First Americans and Puritans, it is also a participation in the Holy Communion

Jesus shared at his last Passover with his close in spiritual family.

They, too, had gone way out of their way for this really good meal,

traveling all the way to Jerusalem and putting themselves in harm's way in the process.

At their Holy Communion meal they shared all the traditional Jewish Passover foods.

In the midst of the meal, Jesus served up a whole new nourishment,

his very self symbolized in bread and wine shared.

He invited a oneness in who he is and how he is,

one with him and with each other.

He offered his very self, his life and love, in the holiest of communions.

He urged those gathered around the table to stay connected, in union, in communion.

Knowing how undone, disjointed and disconnected we can get,

Jesus made possible a continual reconnect of the disconnected,

a way to again and again get the members reunited, " re - membering "

in the body of his unity -

" Do this in remembrance (re membering) of me" -

get together around the table and share what I give you,

my life and love making a oneness of all, and take it from there.

Happily, Thanksgiving isn't restricted to once a year.
It  is very much an icon, an invitation, to go way out of our way every day

for a really good meal, a great feast of living together

gathered around the table of everyday experience

and sharing  a Holy Coming Into Union with God and each other.

And going out of our way it takes!

It takes  effort to  move away from our comfortable and accustomed ways so as

to meet, accept, embrace, and share with  people of diverse cultures, ethnicities,

persuasions and religions.

A very practical take home here would be for us all to refocus and recommit

to going out of our way to make room for new/different people at the table of our various gatherings:

our neighborhood,  organizations, work place, recreational venues, religious institutions,

opening to a Holy Coming To Union.

I can vouch for how essential this is.

Recently retired, I moved to a townhouse in another state.

Three months into it, my neighbors on either side have said hello.

That's it.

I don't even know their last names.

We're cheek to jowl in this development of hundreds and hundreds,

literally feet apart, yet.

strangers in a crowd.

Not much better is trying to find a church family.

One pastor sent a form letter of welcome to the church

two months after I  went there  for a Sunday service.

In another church that I have attended  a number of times over the past two months,

the pastor never sent any note of welcome, or reached out in any manner,

but I did receive a pledge card ( request for money )!!! 

I kid you not.

After two request to visit, the pastor told me last Sunday, "Not this week. I'm so busy."

I'll let you in on a little secret.

I will not ask again, nor have I pledged.

Fortunately a few of the parishoners have reached out in welcome, a few!.

As a retired pastor, now on the other side of the altar,

I am getting quite an education on why lots of people don't bother with churches.

Quite frankly, too many are mutual  message parlors for insiders only.

They just do not go out of their way to welcome and share with outsiders,

in their church or beyond their church,

much less be in for Holy Coming Into Union.

I have found a great deal more welcome and "Come Union " at the local YMCA.

For sure, let's be intentional and personal, going out of our way to connect and include all.


It's a happiness to welcome  this week new  folks from Nigeria and Cambodia to our

Holy Coming Into Union  right here.

Happy Thanksgiving next Thursday  and every day of the year to one and all.

It's so good to be together here each week.

In God's Dear Love,

     John Frank