Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks

I don't often post stuff from Sunday mornings on this blog, but this just seems appropriate to this holiday week. I offer it here with the invitation to try is: sit down with pen and paper or keyboard and screen, set a timer for 10 minutes, and just write what you are thankful for. Here's my list, which was offered as a prayer/meditation yesterday morning at Clarendon.
Thanks. How many things can I be thankful for in 10 minutes, while sitting at Busboys sipping mocha?
To begin with: coffee and toast and a friendly waiter in a warm, bright space on a cold, sunny morning. Then, of course, the sunshine, always, because I don’t like the gray.
Thanksgiving interrupted by sneezing brings me to give thanks for generally good health.
Fresh butter … and the cows and the farmers and the land. If thanks for the cows, then thanks, of course, for the rest of the creatures. Surely, then, for the way that creation sustains us with abundant food.
The cooing baby behind me. Thanks for her. And, first of all, of course, thanks for my babies now well on the way to grown up. Thanks so much for their mom, my love.
Ooops. A few crumbs fall. I’m thankful they do not fall in the keyboard of the laptop. So, almost at once, thanks for living in this time of incredible invention and innovation, and thanks for my parents who taught me the good manners – among so many other things – that ensure that I have a napkin in my lap so my jeans don’t get smeared with jelly. Thanks for blue jeans.
That leads down two threads:
Thanks for Levi Strauss, and for his cousin Claude Levi Strauss, the French structuralist philosopher and sociologist of the 20th century whose work was foundational for the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida whose work sparked my own philosophical imagination so many years ago and back in dissertation days.
But more than that, just thanks for blue jeans, and for the gift of a life that allows me to live, mostly, in jeans. Thanks so much for a congregation that allows me to be myself, in my blue jeans, and not to have to pretend that I am something other than what I am. That is to say, thanks for being a people who really get it, and understand that “reverend” is a noun that names a position in the church not an adjective describing the one who holds the position.
Thanks for each of you. Whether you are here for the first time this morning or if you’ve been part of this community for half century or more, thanks for you. Thanks for your faithfulness, your compassion, your kindness to each other and to all of my family, your love, your imagination, your joy, your intelligence, your passion, your generosity with time, talents and treasure, your creativity, your willingness to be honest and to hold me accountable to the best of what we are and who I am and what we can be together, your patience with my inattention to details, and your attention to them, your grace, your willingness to take risks and to bless me when I do so in the public square.
Thanks for that public square and the myriad opportunities it holds for us to serve our sisters and brothers, to witness to justice and peace, to speak truth to power.
Thanks for the gift of voices, and thanks for the courage to use them. Thanks for breath. For the laughter that causes us to lose our breath. Thanks for song, and music, and rhythm and dance.
Thanks for the Lord of the Dance, the one in whom we live and breathe and move and have our being, the one in whom all things come to be, the one to whom we offer this simple word: thanks.