It is nearly November, which brings two special seasons with regularity. One is annual stewardship time in my congregation and the other is Thanksgiving, perhaps my favorite holiday. Both of these dates remind me that I should always be saying “thank you” to my God for all the good gifts which have been mine throughout the past year.

How often do we remember to say “Asante” or Gracias” or “Thank You”? Those of us who have been fortunate enough to travel and visit people of faith in other countries quickly learn that they express gratitude more often, more loudly, and more repeatedly than our more stoic congregation do. Our partner churches/diocese/congregations in Tanzania, in Guatemala, and in other parts of God’s English-speaking world are better at this than I am (or we are).

I often ponder if I, as one of the worlds “have” people, don’t think of myself as more deserving of God’s gifts than others. Perhaps if I were hungry, as more than 345 million people today* face acute levels of food insecurity, I would be more grateful and thank God for the abundant and nutritious food available to me daily. You and I are no more important in God’s eyes than the hungriest person in Burkina Faso or Tanzania or Guatemala. Should not we then also be the most grateful? And should we not then feel called to share our abundance more freely?

Our Thanksgiving tables usually groan under the weight of abundance. And while many of us are more generous as fall and winter holidays approach, people are hungry year round. Perhaps your annual congregational pledge could include regular contributions to ELCA World Hunger, your local food shelf, or another program which returns to God a small portion of the abundance showered on us daily. May your Thanksgiving feast with family include thanks for everything that is yours and for the ability and willingness to share with others.

Vernita Kennen
Incarnation, Shoreview

*From the World Food Programme, United Nations, 2023