Privilege and Thanksgiving

We’ve taken our Royals family to the Rockies for Thanksgiving. Here in Colorado, we are enjoying bright sunshine, precious moments with grandparents (my kids with theirs and me with mine) and preparing for a day of cooking, eating, playing, relaxing, and then eating some more.

As I’ve thought about how to mark the moment tomorrow, I’m thinking of the articles I read about Ferguson yesterday. Ben Irwin wrote “Stop Praying for Peace in Ferguson” in which he dismisses prayers for peace if they are actually calling for a “return to the status quo, a resumption of normalcy- that is privilege for us and discrimination for them.” And goes on to say, “Stop praying for peace if what you want is for your privilege to remain untouched. When the privileged pray for peace- if it is not accompanied by a commitment to justice, a willingness to lay down our privilege…it’s like trying to have the benefits of resurrection without the crucifixion. Peace without justice. Reconciliation without owning up to the sin of oppression. Harmony without relinquishing any of our privilege.

Eli had “privilege” as a spelling word a few weeks ago. When we quizzed educated adults on how to spell it, almost everyone got it wrong on the first try- adding a “d”, using an “e” instead of the second “i”. Hard as it is to spell the word, actually using our privilege is wrought with struggle.

Jesus taught about privilege in Luke chapter 12. He writes about knowing and doing, responsibility and responsiveness. Luke 12:48 says, “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”

I love a list of blessings, a reflection in gratitude, and a scripture litany of thanksgiving verses. Around the Thanksgiving table,  I love singing, “Albuquerque, he’s my turkey” and saying what we are thankful for in different seasons, because of the year behind us, or even a personal thanks to the person on my right. I believe articulating thanks, cultivating gratitude, and digging deep for a something to be grateful for when all in front of me seems hard.

Over the last few days, I cannot help but think our thanks giving should push us into some thanks doing.

If we acknowledge with gratitude the “much” we have, we should act with conviction towards the expectations upon us.

Around our table tomorrow, or maybe over afternoon pie when we’re not so excited and hungry, the invitation I’ll extend (as Minister of the Gospel/Family Ritual Leader/Bossy Linds?!) is for us to say,

“I’m thankful for the gift I’ve been given… And so I will GO and DO…”

With our great privilege, comes responsibility and doing the right thing.

For all we have to be thankful for, how can our lives look different?

2 Corinthians 9 in the J.B. Phillips translation talks about blessings from God, abundant and often, coming so that we don’t only have what we need, but also what the world needs.

Verse 9 says, “After all, God can give you everything that you need, so that you may always have sufficient both for yourselves and for giving away to other people.” The translation around verse 10 or 11 is, “The more you are enriched by God, the more scope there will be for generous giving, and your gifts…Moreover, your very giving proves the reality of your faith, and that means that that you practise the Gospel that you profess to believe in. ” Finally, verse 15 ends the chapter with the exhortation to “Thank God, then, for God’s indescribable generosity to you!”

With gratitude for God’s indescribable generosity, how then do I act with intentionality?

I’m thankful you read. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!




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