by Robert C. Frank
This year a group of Christian churches in my area will be celebrating Thanksgiving at a Jewish synagogue. It all started many years ago when a group of Christian churches, each a few blocks apart on the same street, decided to get together on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving to express their gratitude to God. The original group included a Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Baptist, and Lutheran church. Later they were joined by a Presbyterian church, another Baptist church, and a Jewish synagogue. It is an exceptional Thanksgiving service because it involves the combined contributions from the rich traditions of the different churches.
The Old Testament lesson is read in Hebrew and the New Testament lesson in Greek with English translations provided. All of the choirs contribute their special music. The offering is in the form of non-perishable food to restock the Food Bank used to help needy families in the area. Attendance has now reached the point where only the larger churches are able to host it.
In our world today sports teams consist of people, each with different skills, who see the playing field from different perspectives, but all work together toward the same goal. In spite of the many different church traditions, it is understood that God is the source of all creation including human beings. Thus an appropriate common goal for all churches is caring for God’s creation and creating better lives for all human beings. Transportation, communication, and medical science have improved dramatically in recent years so most people are living healthier, happier and longer lives. Therefore it seems an exceptionally appropriate time to express gratitude to God.
Robert C. Frank
Author of Christ’s Team