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Unmerited Hospitality

Today is Thanksgiving. It is a day that I enjoy and look forward to and yet I hold in tension the historical significance as well as pain this day holds for our nation.

This thanksgiving I’m reflecting on a sarcastic meme I read just yesterday. It read, “Thanksgiving. The day we celebrate Americans feeding undocumented immigrants from Europe.” As I read this I pondered the unmerited hospitality of the first Thanksgiving – unmerited because this was not our land and yet we sought to take it by force, unmerited because though we had come with force and imposition, at that first Thanksgiving we were the needy, the tired, the weak; we were the ones fleeing persecution, risking death to be free.

This Thanksgiving I cant help but see a split screen with two movies playing simulcast. One showing the first Thanksgiving and the other showing Thanksgiving 2018. I can’t help but consider our brothers and sisters traveling north from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador who have nothing to eat, who have no other option than to risk death for freedom and who, though legally may not deserve to be received into this country and yet who echo the words of our Lord, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

If our joy this Thanksgiving is to be whole and complete we must recognize the incredible dissonance we live in as a country, and most certainly as privileged individuals in this country. We must see how the First Americans received our forefathers from a place of power and how our forefathers excluded the First Americans once the power had shifted. This is the shadow work we must do as a country because until we do we will continue to play it out in our lives, our marriages, with our kids, with strangers at the gas pump and on the freeway. And we will project this onto those we’ve judged to be threats to our land, particularly those currently traveling north on this Thanksgiving’s Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria.

This Thanksgiving consider the unmerited, privilege your life’s affords. Instead of simply being thankful for it, maybe for a moment consider the shadow – the parts of us we hide, repress or deny. What have we had to reject in others and ultimately ourselves to ensure our privilege, power and security and who both outside us and inside us are we not welcoming to the feast.

Let us hear the voice this Thanksgiving, both within our souls and across our borders that says, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.


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