In just a few days we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving – that beautiful uniquely American holiday – that brings together family, friends, and neighbors in a spirit of generosity, gratitude, tradition and community. It is sprinkled with rituals and traditions in food and décor, new food experiments – or that first time turkey meal. It is a day to remember loved ones not with us and to anticipate loved ones coming closer. It is a time when we reach out to people in our community who are lonely, hungry or both. There will be people with warm and loving places to be that day. There will be people who are feeling left out or are homeless. There will be thousands of stories of people reaching out to those who feel alone or forgotten and those stories remind us of our better selves. There will be family gatherings where the ritual table will momentarily contain in peace bruised feelings, hurts and resentments and somehow remind us that we are connected deeply with one another despite our human failings and frailties.
As I write this letter to you, it’s the day after our election and it occurs to me how much we indeed need our uniquely American Thanksgiving ritual to remind us how, in God’s eyes, we are – fundamentally – family.
And so my wonderful IVC community, this Thanksgiving I am resoundingly, triumphantly, ecstatically grateful for YOU. Why?
Because what you DO as IVC is what our American family needs right now. You build up our community – our family – through your service and your generosity. You uniquely reach out to those who are marginalized, disabled, those seeking to overcome poverty, incarceration, addiction, mental illness and homelessness. You correct injustices. You connect and serve people in communities all across this country who feel left out.
I believe IVC was meant for this time of division in our country as a path towards healing and a better tomorrow. I believe YOU are meant for this time to be a part of God’s call to be healers, righters of injustice and alienations.
Know you are in our prayers of gratitude and humility for the gift you are in your community through IVC. Let’s build up the Corps to be a shining light for wherever God may lead …. And need us. And may your Thanksgiving be a grace-filled time of renewal and grace for you and those you cherish that lifts you and enables you with strength and courage to ever be instruments of God’s healing and love in our world – in whatever way you are uniquely called to do.
Thank you for all you do to make IVC great.