Blessed Thanksgiving to the members of the California-Pacific Conference and to the communities where God calls us to live as passionate followers of Jesus Christ! I am praying with a grateful heart for all of you. You are a faithful people who inspire those around you through your efforts to make sure that all those around us experience God’s life-giving love. Every single one of your efforts big and small are being used by God to transform the world toward the love, justice, hope and peace of God’s reign. You are mighty workers in the hands of God!
While I give God thanks for each and every one of you, this year’s Thanksgiving Day Gospel reading has led me to think of this special day as a bit of a test. Are we able to trust God enough to let our worries go for a day and trust that God will care for us, all of us? Matthew says it with a poet’s heart; "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matt. 6:25)”
For some of us, our worries come from the influence of a consumerist society that always wants more and is convinced that it needs more even when it already has so much that some of it spoils and has to be thrown out because it is just too much for those who possess it. For others, whether there will be food on our table or clothing for our children is a very real worry born of economic poverty. Yet Jesus excludes no one from his call – “do not worry.”
Our faithful Lord invites us to look beyond the immediate to what is of greatest importance. How we live our lives and how we use our bodies day by day is much more important than even what we will eat or drink or wear.
The test is really an invitation to a re-ordering of our lives; to returning to the original state of our creation when we trusted God to provide for us just as the birds of the air and the lilies of the field do even today. It is true that for human beings this re-ordering of our lives will require more thoughtfulness. Jesus defines it as a striving first for the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.
Our worries will be lifted and our needs will be cared for as we strive to be the people of God, loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. If our first and best thought each day is how we will love God and love others, and if each of our days end with our rendering to our God how we have strived to live as the people of the kingdom of God, our needs will be cared for as will those of the world around us.
The re-ordering of our own lives will be the lesser task. A re-ordering of the world will take more time than we know, but let’s trust God and walk as faithful and passionate followers of Jesus Christ knowing that he is trustworthy!
God be with you on this Thanksgiving Day!
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church