Shaken and stirred by recent news of refugees, and visiting family in England for a USA holiday of public gratitude, I did some historical research and wrote up this year's Thanksgiving grace to say before a meal:
we are by birth
fortunate to be here
around this table
with food and family
we give thanks.
we celebrate this holiday together
two handfuls of Americans abroad
we bring with us
a 394 year old story
of pilgrims and natives
partying in peace!
foreigners and locals
the harvest of 1621 together
with meat, sport
and few shared words
perhaps the pilgrims were toasting
the short lines at Wampanoag passport control
where fugitives could disembark,
meet a friendly Samoset and Squanto,
be fed by strangers and be left in peace.
Thanksgiving is then a story of refugees well met -
Perhaps a useful modern parable
Whilst we manage the borders around our current prosperity
As others flee brutal darkness towards our glittering light
Today we dine where the pilgrim's exodus began:
They craved religion free from state control
So they fled the Church of England
They took a 66 day boat voyage
And they landed amidst the Wampanoag:
A tribe already decimated by diseases
newly imported by
Explorers, fugitives and refugees.
War and encroachment followed
with these visitors
until the original nations dissolved.
We here are children
more of the pilgrims than the natives.
we flew back to these shores,
maybe 7 to 10 hours.
we eat of the earth, sky and sea
our people have plenty to share
in our storehouses
and plenty to protect
So what loving Truth lies for us
In the "story of Thanksgiving"?
It is good and rare
to be alive
With healthy family
And a laden table
And a pause long enough to recognize
what sobering riches
we have here today in our lives.