This afternoon I gathered with my peers from Beth David Reform Temple, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church and St. John Vianny Catholic Church to discuss the upcoming Gladwyne Community Thanksgiving Service. After about ten minutes of socializing we all sort of decided we would go the normal route and have Hillary Raining, the rector at St. Chris’s, work on the service, basically updating the service that St. Chris’s hosted four years ago. But then something very strange, but very nice occurred.
We asked what was it that our communities of faith needed? We were gathering in the aftermath of the ISIS attack in Paris, during a very tense discussion about race that our society is having and when thousands of refugees are streaming into Europe and eventually into the United States. What are we feeling? It seems like this year is a bit heavier than the usually thanksgiving mood. Yes, we are thankful, but there is more there, a greater yearning, perhaps something not quite on the surface and touchable, yet there.
So I pondered, perhaps this service is more than Thanksgiving, maybe it is an introduction into the Season of Lights as Jews look forward to the Miracle of Lights known as Hanukah and Christians look forward to the Light that enters the world. Maybe this service is one in which we gather to beckon the Light and to give thanks as we sense the darkness around us. Perhaps this is a time in which we all join together, witnessing to our faiths that call us to live in the Light. Most importantly, maybe, just maybe, we gather to give Thanks, not just for our blessings from God, but for each other.
But not to be deterred, we stumbled upon another reality, what if we announced a major undertaking at the Thanksgiving service? Say how about we join our hands together on Martin Luther King Day for a day of joint service? Yes, let us join our hands together to work for the Light on January 18th. And then we were feeling absolutely giddy, and we said, what if this is just the first step, and so shall it be.
So, do not just try to come to the Gladwyne Community Service at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church on Monday, November 23rd at 7 pm, but come. Bring a friend, your neighbor and let our light shine! And mark your calendar for January 18th!