It is difficult not to think about Ferguson, Missouri, and what it says about us on this Thanksgiving.

Despite huge and heroic efforts by Martin Luther King and so many others in the Civil Rights era, and despite national legislative efforts and federal, state and local measures to eradicate racial segregation and its consequences as well as other shameful results of racism – we have managed to keep race as a dividing issue before us.

Some, both Black and White, are unwilling to heal and to seek brotherhood, to focus on the progress made and the efforts expended.  Some seem invested in the divide, to pursue it for their own selfish, even hateful, objectives.

Frankly, some perpetuate division for political gain and that is utterly shameful. Yet, we are unwilling to be sharply critical of such destructive conduct when it should, in a decent society, be simply unwelcome.

For some racism has become an explanation for all things, all shortcomings – personal and collective.  Yet, are we not all capable of overcoming obstacles?  Have we not all faced them and worked to prevail against them?

Look around – people with physical disabilities succeed, badly injured vets succeed, immigrants succeed, people from the wrong side of the tracks succeed.

Haitians come to this country and within one generation have income levels equal to the general population.

God makes us for achievement, for overcoming obstacles – and when the government stays out of our way, we do advance individually and collectively, assuming we make the right personal choices, and work our tail off.

I offer this, only this today –

Lord, forgive us our sins especially for slavery –

help each of us to live as brothers and sisters, to love as You love – to help and to forgive as we are so often forgiven

Grow our hearts and open our arms

Put us to the task of living to glorify You, no matter the apparent obstacle

Give us healing words and the courage to pursue good deeds, selflessly and with humility –

give us the strength to regret most deeply all that we have done to diminish others and, in that, ourselves and You

Silence in us what divides and excludes

Lead us to glorify You in our suffering and our joy

We ask this in the name of your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

May we all be renewed in faith and love this Thanksgiving Day.

Shalom.

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