Hespeler, 8 October, 2017 © Scott McAndless – Thanksgiving
Isaiah 25:1-8, Luke 7:31-35, Psalm 138:1-8
t is Thanksgiving Sunday and many people who live in the Cariboo Region of British Columbia are having a hard time knowing what to be thankful for. They have spent most of the last three months on the run. The forest fires and wildfires in that whole region have been record-breaking this year. People have had to leave behind homes and livelihoods and many have heard the word that what they left behind has been completely destroyed. They don’t have their good dishes with them. Some of their closest family members have taken shelter in communities hundreds of kilometers away. I think that it is worth asking, when they gather around the table later today, what will they find to be thankful for?
And they are not the only ones. In Northern Alberta, an extended family will likely gather this weekend, but probably not for Thanksgiving. I think they’ll be gathered for the funeral of a young mother of four who went down to Las Vegas to see a concert last week and didn’t come back.
A family gathers in Houston, Texas. Their home has been flooded and toxic mold has taken over everything. The wood is rotten, the foundation is crumbling and the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for anything. Even if they could rebuild, they are not sure that would want to. What would be the point of rebuilding on a floodplain after all? They would just get their lives back together in time to get flooded out again. So what have they to be thankful for? And, yes, I know that this weekend is not their Thanksgiving; that it is more than a month away, but do you really think that their situation will have changed significantly by then? So when will their Thanksgiving truly be?
And there are others – so many others it seems – who struggle with the same reality. The scores of Canadian First Nations communities that have been under boil water advisories for years. They are saying that it could take 30 years for Puerto Rico to recover from Hurricane Maria! Mexico is recovering from three earthquakes and counting. Huge swaths of Southeast Asia and Africa have seen unprecedented flooding and there are the other human-made disasters that are Syria, North Korea, and American race relations. The world seems a mess these days, doesn’t it? So much so that when I was trying to come up with a title for this Sunday’s sermon and I wanted to describe the setting for Canadian Thanksgiving 2017, I ended up with a bit of a run-on title.ea and American Race relacidented flooding.