A hearty 'Thank you' to all of our friends!
I will be celebrating the Liturgy this morning (my Dean will be helping one if his grandchildren in this child's first day as an altar boy, and I'll have my boys with me as well...it'll be a big family occaison!) and my sermonette will paraphrase the final three paragraphs of Archbishop DEMETRIOS' Encyclical for today (which I think I saw posted elsewhere on this site)..http://www.goarch.org/en/news/NewsDetail.asp?id=1887
On Thanksgiving, it is natural that we pause to reflect upon the history of the early colonists to America, their reasons for seeking refuge, and the attending results that came about from their experiences as expressed today in the laws of our nation. It is also natural that we pause today to reflect upon our very own identities as Greek Orthodox Christians living in America, knowing that many of us also have roots that hail from Greece and, indeed from many places over the world, as we are an increasingly diverse community of faithful. Here in America, we have the freedom to express the beauty of our Greek Orthodox faith in its fullness, to share its eternal message of love and salvation with others, and to worship our God according to the Holy Traditions and Canons of our Orthodox Church. This is a blessing for which we are very grateful each day and particularly on this Day of Thanksgiving.
In reflecting upon these blessings and fundamental freedoms that exist with the United States, it is also only natural to remember that there exist many people of many faiths who cannot enjoy the same levels of religious freedom due to the policies of other nations of our world. This sad reality should not spoil our celebration of Thanksgiving; rather, it should remind us all the more that we as Americans have a paramount duty to promote freedom and democracy. This duty is rendered all the more salient when we consider not only the import of our colonial history as Americans, but also our venerable Hellenic heritage and our Orthodox faith, which extols the very same virtues of freedom and democracy. We therefore enjoy a special identity that places us in a unique vantage point in our world, and for this we have many reasons to give thanks to our loving and beneficent God.
It is my heartfelt prayer that as we come together on this Day of Thanksgiving, feasting in thanks and in gratitude with our loved ones, friends, and family, we may be cognizant of the very special blessings that we enjoy in this land and that we may strive in our daily actions to reflect that gratitude in the love we show to others. May our hearts be filled with gratitude to God for all His blessings of life, liberty, and the freedom to worship Him. May God bless each and every one of you on this Day of Thanksgiving, and may God bless America.
What could be more Orthodox than to gather together to thank God for His blessings?