I wrote a few weeks ago about gratitude. And here we are in the week of Thanksgiving. The first pilgrims feasted in the fall of 1621 in thanksgiving for this new country, for the help of the natives in settling in, and so we do, too, exactly 500 years later, celebrate this country and all that it has been to each of us. As we touch on key events in the history of our country, like the arrival of the first 20-30 slaves in 1619 just before the first Thanksgiving, the founding of our country at the end of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War of the mid-nineteenth century, we realize that we have not yet fulfilled the promise of this country in which our Declaration of Independence declared “all men are created equal.” Of course, women were not included in “all men,” nor were the African slaves who built our early economy nor the Native Americans who were here long before any of the white settlers arrived.
In gratitude for this beautiful, rich-in-resources land, a place where we have the potential at least to come into our own best natures, let us recommit ourselves to an updated version of the motto of our country that “all men, women and children were created equal.” Let us celebrate all the people, no matter their race or religion or education, their poverty or wealth. For we are all a part of this great country. Let us fulfill the promise of our land. After all, The United States reflects the whole human race that was created by God in His image.[Genesis 1:26-27]
As we honor all the people who live in this country, citizens and immigrants, let us live in gratitude for the opportunities here, let us embrace all kinds of peoples who live here. Let us honor the different stories, different nationalities, different religions and let us come together in new ways that would truly show our gratitude for living in this land. How much richer our country would be—and I don’t mean in dollars and cents, but in our experience of each other—if we celebrated all the different kinds of people here. How much more interesting it would be in the United States if the Latinos and Blacks and Native Americans and Asians, and whites were equally included in all our rights and privileges.
We could truly be a melting pot, and what an incredibly interesting society then would emerge. Even light-skinned people are not all alike. Think of all the different countries people immigrated from: Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and more European countries. Then there are the Eastern Europeans: Polish, Slavic and others. The Asians from China and Japan, India and Vietnam, Thailand and more. The Africans from S. Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and so many more. We Americans came from all over the world! We should celebrate all that heritage and acknowledge all the differences there are in our melting pot. And yet we agree on freedom, equality, and so much more. Then we would fulfill the promise of our nation, finally! One nation under God. Amen.
- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you, free of charge.
- My latest book, Called to Help the Poor and Needy, is now in bookstores and on line. It’s about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need.
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I grateful for all the different kinds of people who settled here in the United States of America? Do I celebrate their food and music as well as their different experience of life here and in their countries of origin? Do I recognize the face of Jesus in all these different people? Do I value those who are different from me, get to know them?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who celebrate al the different kinds of human beings that God created in Him image. May we affirm and value their experience. May we be welcoming everyone in our midst.
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