St. Andrew United Methodist Church
Friday, November 16, 2018
Open Minds. Open Hearts. Open Doors.
 

 

         From the Sr. Associate Pastor’s Desk

 

4 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

 

     We all know the story of Thanksgiving. Or do we? This homegrown American holiday has a rich and little-known history beyond the famous feast of 1621. Here are four surprising stories:

   1. People disagree about when the first Thanksgiving was held.

        If you could ask a pilgrim about the three-day celebration with the Wampanoag Indians in Plymouth,      Mass.,  in 1621, which  most Americans think of as the first Thanksgiving, he would not have used the word

        "Thanksgiving." For the Pilgrims, rather,  a day of Thanksgiving was imbued with religious meaning and set

        aside for prayer and worship.

        From the Pilgrims' point of view, their first "Thanksgiving" took place in July, 1623. Gov. William Bradford

        declared a day of Thanksgiving to give thanks for the rain that had ended a drought and saved their           harvest Bradford wrote in his journal that the rain fell "with such sweet and gentle showers as gave them      cause of  rejoicing and blessing God."

   2. The Pilgrims likely ate corn instead of cranberries.

        If you want to eat what the Pilgrims and Wampanoag ate in the 1600's, put venison, corn, and oysters on

        Your Thanksgiving menu. The venison was provided courtesy of the Wampanoag who, like every good

        Thanksgiving guest ever since, brought a contribution to the feast-in this case, five deer.

        Turkey may also have been on the table, but unlike today, it was not the centerpiece of the meal. Bradford

        writes in his journal that there was a "great store of wild turkey" as well as other fowl at the time of the           First Thanksgiving. The early English settlers also ate duck, geese, swan, crane, gulls, and even eagle.

        Cranberries grew wild in New England, but if a curious Pilgrim had picked and eaten one, he would not      have wanted to eat a second. Cranberries are extremely tart and need sweetening to be palatable. Since      sugar was expensive in England, it's unlikely the Pilgrims had brought any with them on the Mayflower.

    3. Not everyone liked the idea of a national Thanksgiving holiday.

        It's hard to imagine Thanksgiving as a source of political controversy. But such was the case in 1789, when

        George Washington called our first Thanksgiving as a nation. In his proclamation, Washington asked

        Americans to gather on  the last Thursday of November to give thanks for the establishment of "a form of

        government for their safety and happiness."

        Some members objected. The authority to designate a Thanksgiving Day belonged to individual state

        governors, not the president, they said. Others said Thanksgiving was a "religious matter" and therefore

        proscribed. Congress had just  debated the text of the First Amendment, so the meaning of separation of

        state and church was fresh in Members' minds.

        Washington - wise in this as in almost every other matter-issued the proclamation, but then "requested"             the governors to proclaim his suggested day of Thanksgiving in their states; he did not order them to do             so. Thanksgiving was widely celebrated throughout the land.

   4. Football quickly became a central part of the holiday.

       The modern-day Thanksgiving holiday began in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of national

       Thanksgiving in the midst of the Civil War. Every subsequent president has followed Lincoln's example.

        Thanksgiving Day football games are almost as old as the holiday itself. The first Thanksgiving Day football

        game took place in the mid-1870's, when Princeton played Yale in Hoboken, N.J. The Princeton-Yale game          was a catalyst for the creation of a popular audience for Thanksgiving Day football, and by the 1890's      there were thousands of games being played across the country.

      One aspect of the holiday that has stayed the same over the centuries is gratitude. On the fourth Thursday      in November, Americans of all religious faiths, and of none, pause to give thanks.

                                                            Happy Thanksgiving,

                                                                 Terry & Mary

                           

 

 

 

From the Associate Pastor’s Desk

Mindfulness in the Busyness

I love the scripture passage in Luke’s gospel (Luke 10:38-42) in which Jesus comes into the home of Mary and Martha. While Mary sits at Jesus’ feet taking in what he is saying, Martha, we read, “was distracted by her many tasks.” When Martha complains to Jesus asking whether he cares that Mary has left her to do the work all herself, Jesus replies, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things…”

We are entering into a busy and activity-filled time of year inside and outside of the church. Thanksgiving approaches, Christmas, the New Year. This is a joy-filled and exciting season, but sometimes it can be a stressful one, too. We can get so distracted by the many tasks, events, and programs ahead of us that we might just miss the moment.

I think of the first pumpkin unload at the beginning of October we had for our patch. We had a tremendous task at hand - there were a little over 2,000 pumpkins in the first unload! Halfway into the unload I realized that we could easily get caught up in the “task at hand” of unloading, that we could miss the beautiful presence of the

moment. There were people of all ages from both the church and the community helping to unload pumpkins,

laughing, talking, sharing stories and fellowship. Each pumpkin was uniquely shaped and patterned – such a

beautiful display of God’s creativity. As the sun set, the temperature got a little bit cooler. In the busyness of this

 holy task, God was with us and in all the details of the activity.

A dear friend and mentor in ministry once said to me that often we are so focused on waiting on the lightning bolt moments from God that we miss the ways in which God  

In Christ, 

Beth