“Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Paul the Apostle
One of the more memorable Thanksgiving dinners I can recall began when my mother chose to say Grace. Expecting the standard and liturgically rote, “Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts…”, mom forget herself and
instead we heard, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned...”
With hands folded, all of us leaned furtively inward for a better reception of the revelations about to come forth. No one dared interrupt what was surely to be the most scintillating blessing ever spoken. Unfortunately
however, catching herself in mid-sentence, mom’s confessional admissions immediately ceased, being replaced with more predictably standard fare. Soon after, calls for more sweet potatoes coalesced with queries about who wanted the dark or white meat of the enormous turkey.
Yet, my mother’s unlikely utterance, apparently out of place, may well have been the most profound invocation for any meal set to commemorate the giving of thanks. Indeed, she was right. We have sinned. Our cultural transgressions are most acutely and annually apparent where, for instance, appreciation for the abundance and opportunities others would see as paradise, is overtaken by the fixation upon further Black
Each of us is so incredibly blessed to live where we do, when we do and how we do. Some have more, others have less. But everyone we know experiences abundance and scarcity within wider circumstances that so many millions of others would never be able to dream about, let alone encounter. Quite apart from the material magnifying glass, the scriptures simply point out that we have all missed the mark. Thus we are invited to embrace the fact that stands beyond all others in its affect upon the world. We have all fallen short, yes. And, we are all forgiven. Not because of personal works, this is the pre-eminent gift of God.
To be sure, starting in recognition of sin on Thanksgiving is not the most common approach in any dining room. Yet, this mindset leads to cherishing the brightest assurance touching every human soul alive on the planet. However great or grossly inadequate, the conditions in which we live are not reflective of the Divine love in which we are, and will be held.
On our own merits, we may not approach the glory of God. Nor can we fall out of His reconciling love in Jesus Christ! While we may not be part of the Church of Rome, each of us knows the verity implicit in the words, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned.” Real gratitude, however, is based in knowing and being enabled to follow quickly with, “Thank you Father, for I am saved.”