The turkey is defrosting. The house smells of pies baking. Preparations for the annual Thanksgiving Day are underway. One preparation is still undone – a list of the things for which I am thankful. Steeped in the mythic stories of the Mayflower and the big spread shared by indigenous Americans and their English guests, we will focus on the feast and the harvest time. Certainly, we will give thanks for family and friends. Maybe we are grateful for health – and if we are honest – wealth. The list is long, and I’m glad I only must do this once a year! But then I read scripture.
Rest. It shouldn’t be counter-cultural, but in today’s world, it is. We can think that the times have changed, and we can pine for a time when rest was something that people regularly did. But rest has always been elusive for the American culture. It is evident in our “pull yourself by your own bootstraps” mentality. Collectively, we praise those who over-work and give side looks to those who aren’t pulling themselves up. (Even as we ignore the fact that many of those we give side looks to don’t have bootstraps to pull.)
There are two things on my mind today. First, it is that time of the church year when the readings appointed for our annual journey turn to endings. The Book of Revelation announces: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8) God is the beginning (the alpha point) and the end (the omega point). With the end of the church year just ahead, the Festival of Christ the King (November 20) will declare the finality of God’s Word revealed in Christ. All of history will be bent, nudged, cajoled, forgiven, and redeemed into the reign of God.
As I write this, it is evident that autumn is here. The farmers are busy harvesting corn and beans. The air is thick with dust from the fields, and it doesn’t matter if you live in the middle of town or not, dust travels and covers the landscape. Unfortunately, it also lands on the end table in my living room.