Beyond the Turkey

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on

Psalm 107:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be upon us and our traditional celebrations and gatherings will be calling us to begin organizing and determining who will bring what to the festive meal. Watch out for that early Christmas music, too, or you might think you have lots of time, but really don’t.

The year 2020 has been quite a challenge for all of us. It seems to start off pretty normal, but within a few months we confronted the COVID pandemic and life has not been the same. Even though our yearnings to see the end in sight, we are not quite there yet. As I write this there is great hope for a vaccine by the end of the year, and deservedly first of all for health care workers, first responders and then the elderly. For all Americans the estimate seems to be in June of 2021.

It is undeniable that we all have suffered in many ways during these past nine months. Some people more than others continue to confront deeper pain that will last a long time. Amidst all the difficult happenings of 2020, I would like us to remember Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Now let the words penetrate your heart: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

The first part of this verse seems quite natural: Give thanks to the Lord! The only thing you and I have to do is look around to perceive the many gifts that are freely given to us and not based on merit. Our family and friends, our own gifts and talents, all of creation. Yes, indeed God is good! A grateful heart is a humble heart because we know that God is the giver of all benefits. But for some people this might not be an easy phrase to say as they are dealing with the heartaches that the pandemic has brought them. Loved ones dying alone in hospitals; first responders pushed to the limit and caught between saving lives of those who come to the hospitals or those of their own families; so many people suffering from extreme anxiety because of fear of being infected. Besides the pandemic, the social, economic and emotional state of our country is in deep distress.

We can and will get through these challenging times if we reflect on the last part of verse one: “his love endures forever.” Forever. God’s love endures. Beyond the pandemic, God’s love endures forever. Beyond the hate and violence, God’s love endures forever. Beyond the necessary sacrifices we must make, God’s love endures forever. Beyond any physical or emotional pain, God’s love endures. Sit still and reflect on the movement of God’s love in your life and in those of your loved ones. God’s love is always near us and sustaining us. 

This affirmation demands a very large dose of faith, but faith is again a free gift that God gives to those who ask. We must ask and then believe that God will give us what we need. God loves all of us so much and desires to shower us with love. “God’s love endures forever.” God’s love will carry us through many dark nights and impossible days. Faith will give us the courage to ask and the humility to believe. God’s love endures even when we doubt, when we are angry or when we give up. As Scripture says, God can never be unfaithful. As you are sitting around your Thanksgiving table with a small group of family and friends, be grateful and thank our God for all the gifts that you have received, including the meal that you may be enjoying. Thank God for the love which remains with us during our whole life. Look beyond the present moment, symbolized by the turkey, and thank God for all that is yet to come, because whatever that may be, God’s love will endure forever in our lives.

Sister Nancy is a Franciscan of the Sacred Heart and Formation Director for the Joliet Diocese Missions.

Now we invite your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below. And while you’re here, continue on a virtual mission by reading more of our stories and reflections as we discover together how “We are Mission”.

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