We are in prayer for our President, Gil Pingle and his wife Linda. Linda had triple Bi-pass surgery and is healing. We are thankful for this successful procedure and for Linda’s progress. Gil is now a primary caregiver, not an easy job, so we ask for strength and patience for Gil.
On the horizon, are two holidays; Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. As we celebrate Veterans Day, we are aware of the dispute in the NFL concerning the proper behavior during the National Anthem before the beginning of their games. Our fellow citizens have mixed feelings by this controversy and have taken their stand. No matter how we individually stand, we hope that the issue may soon be solved and that we can come to some agreement upon a common agreement on how to behave when our Anthem is presented.
As we celebrate our Thanksgiving Day, we have much to be thankful for, even when saying thanks is difficult. There have been many times this year – floods, hurricanes, horribly destructive fires, mass killings, earthquakes political and social disputes – where giving thanks was a difficulty. The cost of these events- in lost lives, loss of property, lack of drinkable water, sickness, starvation, and human misery-we wonder “what is there to be thankful for?” That is not a simple question to answer.
If we take our eyes off this big picture and look only at our lives, we seem selfish and very individualistic. If we simply look at things, we become materialistic. Hannah Arendt, in “The Human Condition,” has given us insight on two gifts we have from God for which we can give thanks. She gives us some big picture things to be thankful for, as creatures who live in time. One of the things about living in time is that we cannot predict what will happen next in our lives. She suggests that one way to help us live in an unpredictable world is the ability to make promises with each other. We usually take oaths when we make these kinds of promises – like our marriage vows, in our oaths of office, in law courts, etc. A friend of mine says, that when God identified himself to Moses as the “I AM,” he says that his name is a promise that “He will be with us when and whenever we move into the unpredictable.” We have all experienced this gift and have trusted that our oaths will give us security as we move into unpredictable moments and movements in living in time.
The next thing she points out about living in time is that time is irreversible. We do something in time and it is out there. We cannot take the word or deeds back. We say an unkind word, do something harmful, regret an action, we know that there is no way we can get it back. We feel a helplessness/hopelessness. Her answer to the irreversibility of time is that God has given us the gift of forgiveness. Forgiveness is one way we can heal the hurt, take back the deed, or make things right. It does not help us forget the things we have said or done, but it does help heal the hurt. We are thankful for this gift because we have received forgiveness and have given other freedom of forgiveness. I hope you, too, can be thankful for this gift.
Farther down the road is another special day we Christians will celebrate is Christmas, the birth of God’s gift that redeemed us from all the problems of living in time. This freedom will be what we will celebrate in the new Heaven and new Earth. He has told us that time will be no more. That is something to look forward to experiencing together!
May your holidays be filled with thanksgiving, joy, and blessing!
Herman Keizer, Jr.