"Be considerate of the other people at the table and treat them the way you want to be treated." (Sirach 31:15) (A book from the Apocrypha of the Old Testament)
The table has been set, the invitation extended, and now we wait. In this case it's not just one table, but many tables that have been set up in our church's gymnasium as we prepare for the second annual Thanksgiving community luncheon. Come to think of it, maybe it really does represent just one table - the Lord's Table that we have set to welcome all who are in need of physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment on Thanksgiving Day.
Leading up to this holiday season I am saddened to hear how the retail industry is once more encroaching upon another opportunity for us to pause in our hectic lives, be thankful, spend quality time with loved ones, and extend the hand of fellowship to others. The conflict that has developed around this year's retail shopping schedule and the demands it places upon employees reminds me that for some, the holiday is nothing more than another opportunity for greed and our addiction to spending to flourish. The whole situation reminds me that unless we are very intentional about walking in the way of the Lord and loving one another, our knack for sinning will leave us clutching only cold, opened doorbuster items we were sold as the latest and hottest instead of truly holding one another and feeling the warmth of that embrace. Our sin has led us down a path of deception and left us with a distorted sense of what we truly need from one another.
When the writer of Sirach says, "Be considerate of the other people at the table and treat them the way you want to be treated," it begs the question, "How do I want to be treated?" Ever stop to really think about that? Look around the table this Thanksgiving and consider that question. I have a feeling everyone around the table wants the same as you and I, so let's give what we want. Let's give the gift of tenderness, compassion, warmth, security, peace, and hope. I pray that God will help me remember to treat others the way I want and need to be treated. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia
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