Here comes the day of Thanksgiving. The day family gets together. The scent of sage in the air and enough butter to make Paula Dean say “Too much.” There’s laughter, memories, and too much food. But I’m just not feeling it this year. I would be totally ok with my sister’s idea, sitting on the couch with a box of chicken. Just give me my robe, remote, and some Church’s chicken. Ever since the “PC Police” lost control, things just fly out of people’s mouths like vultures flying through the sky, waiting on the pleasantries to die and go in for the meal. Honestly, I’d prefer to be serving Jesus in the line at a local shelter.
You see, I don’t want to spend my day, my favorite day of the year, surrounded by conversations of building walls, deporting people who can’t possibly be American because of their brown skin, taking away food assistance from the poor, increasing the prison population, and a plethora of other issues that I stand firmly against. It gives me anxiety and that is something I need to take to God.
I wonder if Jesus would attend this supper. Knowing Jesus, I don’t think he’d miss out on the opportunity to teach radical love. I wonder how he would respond. A parable? Maybe flip the table? Maybe he’d recite Matthew 25, or the beatitudes. Maybe he’d tell me to act out in radical love and to seek out opportunities to share the message of Jesus. If I’m being honest, that’s where my anxiety is coming from. Not other people, but from the fact that it is easier to just spew facts and opinions than to just live out my time there as Jesus would. It’s easier to point out the splinter in another’s eye than the plank in our own. Being enclosed with people who are part of the very system you oppose can either bring out the best or worst in you. However, as a Christian, it is important to remember it’s not people we push back against, it’s the harmful ideology. After all, these aren’t bad people. They just believe differently from me. They all have their own experiences and reactions, just like I have mine. It is keeping to my true self that I should be mindful of, not everyone else. Does that mean pacifism? Absolutely not. Jesus may have been the Prince of Peace but he was not a pacifist.
Now that I have had time to return my eyes to the Cross, I feel much more hopeful about Thanksgiving this year. If God was willing to come down, take on being human, show what radical grace and mercy looks like, and die a brutal death for me, then I’m sure I can handle a good old-fashioned In-Law Turkey Day. If Jesus broke bread with Judas knowing he was going to betray him, then I’m sure I can break bread with people who are my ideological opposites. I’ll go ahead and give thanks for Jesus and his example.