Thanksgiving, the Power to Share

This Sunday is the last in the church year; we start a new liturgical year on November 29th (Advent.) It’s also the weekend before Thanksgiving. As the hymn reminds us, “we gather together to ask for God’s blessing to live in community seeking God’s will.” What a great way to end something, with thanks-giving!

Our focus scripture from John 18:33-38 is not about giving thanks but is Jesus facing off with the powers that be. It’s the ultimate contrast: between Pilate, who thought he had everything but in fact had nothing and Jesus who appeared to be nothing but in fact was everything.

Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, questions Jesus and tries to understand who Jesus is, but only views Jesus through the wisdom of the Roman world. Pilate sees Jesus in terms of power and authority, for these are the things he can understand. However, the truth that motivated Jesus is of a different sort completely.

We often think of power embodied in a person with authority over us like a boss. However, we have personal power through our words and behaviors; they give us another kind of power. It gives me pause to consider how I use my personal power; my words and my actions speak volumes. Do I misuse ‘Minnesota nice’ – a passive/aggressive or sarcastic behavior? Do I smile and speak venom at the same time? Do I abuse my power in any way?

Though we like to think of ourselves as powerless, we hold and yield more power than we think. Consider what kind of power you have as a white person. What kind of privilege do you take for granted? Would you expect to be among the first rescued during a natural disaster? When was the last time you were stopped by a policeman and you hadn’t already guessed why?

Our power serves us yet we can easily use it against each other. What kind of power can we, as a church, exercise on behalf of those without power? How does Jesus use his power? What is the truth that motivates Jesus? What do we learn from Jesus about being a faithful witness to God’s truth?

As we plan and prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends and family, I invite you to consider how best to use your power and one or two ways to share it.

Giving thanks for each and every ONE of you!

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