Thanksgiving- really – by David Brauner


Needless to say, we have a great deal to be thankful for. We are not living under relentless bombardment and the constant threat of imminent attack. No one is trying to kill us. We have most of our basic needs met and then some. For the most part, we live in peace and prosperity, certainly when compared to most of the rest of the world and most of history. We have our freedoms. I believe, however, that as philosopher Blaise Pascale wrote over 300 years ago, we also have an empty place in our hearts that only God can fill. If you’re reading this, you probably have a sense of this already. This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that God makes him/herself so easy to find. God is with us, just on the other side of an open door that he calls us to walk through. The beautiful reward is his presence and strength. This is from Isaiah 41: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I heard a story recently from an online preacher that sticks with me.  It might be a parable, I’m not sure.  There was a young family, with sons eight and ten, who were sailing off the coast of Maine around this time last year when a sudden and violent storm gathered. The sky darkened, the calm sea began to churn and, in what seemed like just a few short minutes, the steady and predictable breeze on which their relaxing family outing glided peacefully, turned unmanageable and dangerous. As the sails fouled in the wind, waves crashed over the side and the small craft capsized and disappeared into the dark sea. The Coast Guard found and rescued the parents and one of the boys fairly quickly, but as night fell, the younger boy was still missing. It was a sleepless night for the parents and for much of the small coastal community where they lived. Well acquainted with the deadly power of the sea, old-timers feared the worst. Overnight the storm passed, like they always do, and at first light the rescuers were back at it. They found the boy soon enough, clinging to a large rock. As a Coast Guard officer helped the tired and shivering young boy aboard the rescue ship, knowing how intense the storm was- how violent the waves, how cold the water and fierce the wind, and how dark a starless night at sea can be, he asked, “You must have been really scared hanging on to that rock all night in the storm.”  The boy said, “Yeah, I was scared but the rock didn’t move.”  Indeed, the rock doesn’t move. This Thanksgiving, say hi to God for me and let him/her know that you’d like to stay in touch. He’s with us in every storm. The song pairing is “Rock of Ages.” Happy Thanksgiving, and until next time, stay safe, be brave and keep walking in the light.

Rock of Ages
God of life, God of hope
in a bullet train, on a slow boat
God of sorrows, God of tears
lay your hands on me, calm my fears

Rock, rock, rock, rock, rock of ages…

When Jesus walked, from now ‘till then
San Diego to Jerusalem
Westminster Abbey to the Vatican walls
up the road and down the hall

Rock, rock, rock, rock, rock of ages…
Rock, rock, rock of ages

In the morning I, open up my eyes
I see the trees, I see the skies
It’s your world Lord, you made it all
we sing your praises, in one accord

Rock, rock, rock, rock, rock of ages…

Jesus says to turn our cheek
Jesus says the strong are meek
there’s one thing we can be sure of
they will know us by our love

Rock, rock, rock, rock, rock of ages…
Rock, rock, rock of ages

He is a father to the fatherless
orphans and widows He will bless
He is up there riding the clouds
open your eyes brother, He’s around

Rock, rock, rock, rock, rock of ages…


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