We have recently completed the most acrimonious election season in the past century. For the better part of a year, our airwaves were inundated with advertisements that suggested both presidential candidates were deplorable. Incredibly uncharitable things were uttered by representatives of both political parties. Predictions of national apocalypse were made. And yet, I am most thankful.
I express my thanks this day not for the outcome of the election (about which our parishioners have differing and heartfelt opinions), but for the fact of it. I am thankful that we live in a land where I can wake up on a Tuesday morning, drive to the polling station, enjoy the company of friends from across the political spectrum, and cast a ballot.
I am thankful that we live in a nation so blessed that two weeks after the election, in all the relationships that matter (as opposed to the artificial relationships created by television and political pundits), goodwill abides, commerce continues, and peace reigns.
Mostly, I am thankful that we live in a country in which I am able to worship and serve the Lord in good times and in bad. This year’s Dodson Distinguished Lecturer, Fleming Rutledge, reminds us in a sermon about Thanksgiving:
The life of thankfulness—biblically speaking—is lived in view of the hard things of existence. As the life of thanksgiving deepens, we discover that the more mature prayers of thanksgiving are not those offered for the obvious blessings, but those spoken in gratitude for obstacles overcome, for insights gained, for lessons learned, for increased humility, for help received in time of need, for strength to persevere, for opportunities to serve others.
As we prepare to observe that most peculiar and anticipated holiday, the one that combines our national life with our gratitude to God, I pray we will remember Fleming’s words. As Americans and as Christians, we are indeed blessed in times of comfort and in times of challenge. Let us give thanks to God, from whom all blessings flow!