I thought I was done, except in a bittersweet way.
Preparing for a sermon this past Sunday, I was thinking a lot about heritage and the presence of the unseen guests at all of our Thanks Giving tables. The text had to do with a faith forewoman so it gave great opportunity to consider witness and how it sounds through the ages.
I had my sermon set to go and had the perfect ending for it. Some thirty years ago, my dad was interviewed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It was a column about Thanksgiving and in it he reflected upon being a pastor and the gratitude he felt about being able to love and be loved wrapped in community.
The long ago article ended with a Thanksgiving prayer. It hangs on my refrigerator at the cabin. I knew that Leah was there and could relay it to me. Except that she didn’t have her phone on. As the night dwindled and there was no word, I knew that I was not going to be able to speak words written by a heart I so miss.
And then the grief swooped. The ache in my heart over my dad’s death was so raw. It has been sixteen years ago but I so wanted to “hear” his voice and share it with a people I get to be in ministry with.
And the empty place of his friendship and his not knowing of my beloved and and and all those things fell into my heart and I missed my dad and mourned the huge space left by his death. All the little and large sharing of life we don’t get to share; it hurts.
It hurts. And, it humbles. I barrel along my days and sometimes I am brought up short and reminded that life and love are tender precious fierce things and I am blessed to live them, I am.
So may I share his prayer with you?
Dear God it’s me. Remember?
And it is Thanksgiving time and turkeys and football games and family gatherings and all sorts of special things are here and so am I and so are you.
I know that we must be an abomination to you. Our existence is a continuing, helpless pollution of your world.
We are terribly concerned with messy affluence, the insane rains of our bombs keep falling. It’s easy to mask who we are.
We clatter with heavy shoes over the lives, the sensitivities, the joys and heartaches, the realness of our brothers and sisters.
Appearances, of color, of dress, even of hair have a strange importance to us.
We talk of love and forget to do it.
But it is Thanksgiving time.
And I would like to thank you for everything I have and everyone I know.
For family and home in now and past, for friends. For those who touch my life with love.
For letting me love others,
For a world of maybes,
For smells and touches and eyes that meet.
For my job, my car, the little things I take for granted.
And they are all from you, and thank you God.
Can I ask a little favor?
My thanks are so special, so big, so real –
Will you arrange it so I won’t have to say a table grace right out loud?
That would be so predictable, so polite.
I would far rather babble and shout.
Rev. George Macaulay