November 24, 2016, 5:29 PM

Many of us will be spending Thanksgiving Day with family or friends, sharing a good meal, and, one hopes, remembering all the things one has to be grateful for. 

If we are fortunate, we will have more than is probably good for us (I know I usually do!). 

Others will be serving or delivering meals to those who are less fortunate.

Others will be hungry, cold, or discouraged.

Some will likely be standing out in freezing weather protesting a new oil pipeline slated to cross the Missouri River in North Dakota.  Some will be trying to end those demonstrations and maintain order. 

Some will be making plans for a new administration that takes office in January, while others will be wondering how to make their own views heard.

An annual harvest festival held in a country when only 391 counties in the United States are regarded as “farming dependent” (according to the USDA) seems rather quaint.  Yet Norman Rockwell’s classic painting is the popular image: everyone smiling, laughing, and talking together.

May we all enjoy such fellowship and delight this week.

And while we’re being grateful for the bounty of food and fellowship we share on Thanksgiving Day, let us not forget to offer thanks for all the blessings in our lives: for those who have loved us, for those who will; for those who have worked hard for the rights of all - those who opposed slavery, those who battled for workers’ fair treatment and pay, those who have gone to war against tyranny and terror, those who have striven for justice for all, and those who continue to strive that all may breathe free, without hindrance or fear.  Let us be grateful for those who have taught us, even those who have taught us when we go wrong; let us be grateful for those whom we have harmed who have forgiven us.

Let us remember as well that we are all beloved of God, as are our neighbors, and all people, whoever and wherever they are.  Let us be grateful that the God who created all that is, is always ready to reach out in love and forgiveness and mercy, to teach us how to love and forgive and be merciful, and to show us why that is so important.

Let us remember that we are part of the Body of Christ – and will shortly be joined by a new member, Mary Jane, Fleurette Laughlin.  Pray for her, and the members and friends of Christ Church, the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, and the Episcopal Church at large.

Let us recall the words of our Savior Jesus Christ, in his last conversation with his disciples: “Abide in me as I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. … My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples."