In Lieu of Rev. Jacqueline’s Blog Post this Week…. Thanksgiving Cancelled at ERUUF!?
In years past a Thanksgiving meal has occurred in ERUUF’s Fellowship Hall, organized and led by members of the congregation. A small fund was made available for the purchase of two turkeys and a few side dishes, while volunteers contributed others. Staff set up tables and located the supply of decorations, tablecloths and other items that members used for the creation of what many remember as a beautiful communal event.
While members also serve the hungry and those in need of food in Durham during this holiday season, the meal at ERUUF has typically been for those within our congregation who might otherwise spend the day alone if not for this time with others in Beloved Community.
A small and eager group of congregants volunteered this year to help out with ERUUF’s Thanksgiving meal, however the group has been without someone to lead and coordinate the logistics of planning for a meal which might easily attract 30 or 50 or even 70 participants. Obviously, this is no small task, as any of us who has done such a thing for a group as small as eight people can attest!
As a result, Thanksgiving this year at ERUUF will unfortunately be cancelled. Unless….
My sermon last week spoke about the intersection of abundance and community – that abundance is best realized when we are in community, understanding and willing to admit when we are in need and our willingness to help when we can.
But that wasn’t the essential takeaway of the sermon. You see, we at ERUUF are very abundant in things, in resources. Many of us as individuals – especially when compared to others in the larger community, and certainly all of us are quite abundant as a collective at ERUUF.
What I was alluding to last week was an abundance of the heart, a conscious awareness which is not about the things or resources we own but about what we can make possible because of the depths of abundance we’ve cultivated within ourselves. I’m thinking here of compassion, generosity, kindness, patience, mutuality, and yes, love.
As with most values, the true fullness of abundance and the rich possibilities it offers begins as we cultivate it in our hearts and from there it becomes the catalyst for our actions in community. Abundance and generosity best realized as an inside/out practice rather than an outside/in activity.
I am quite fond of pointing out that the beauty and all the goodness we experience here at ERUUF is due to the love, vision, commitment, and determination of our members. I know that this is a difficult time for most of us as we consider what is certainly an overwhelming weight of troubles in the world that we are all impacted by. And yet, as is often pointed out at this time of year, we are also quite fortunate that there is much to be thankful and grateful for, especially in community. As we sang last week:
Lean on me when you’re not strong
and I’ll be your friend,
I’ll help you carry on,
for it won’t be long
‘til I’m gonna need
somebody to lean on.
And yet, as I shared with others recently, there is much more to all of this than simply singing, talking, or writing about it.
If anyone might be interested in leading a hardy band of volunteers eager to participate in creating an ERUUF Thanksgiving, please reach out to me () or Alice Alexander () as soon as possible – certainly no later than Monday.
Yours in abundant hope and Fellowship.
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