Thanksgiving has never fallen on a Saturday before – until now. On the surface it sounds so contrary to a traditional American Thanksgiving. Twenty-five or so people – some of whom I had only met once before – all crammed around borrowed tables and chairs in the front room of our little cottage. Scottish people and American transplants or itinerant students celebrating a traditional American holiday two days belated. Unorthodox as it sounds, I have say that it was one of the most heart-warming Thanksgivings I have ever spent. It was a beautiful picture of fellowship within the Body of Christ and what a blessing it can be.
Thanksgiving is – in the spirit of full disclosure – mostly about eating A LOT of really good food. There are traditional elements that would never be absent from a Thanksgiving table: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and the like. All were present in abundance, along with choice favorites from everybody’s recipe books. That is what I found remarkable. While not totally constrained by cultural expectation, everyone brought forth their best. The result was colorful as well as abundantly delicious. This struck me as a unique illustration of the body of Christ. We all have a responsibility to serve one another, to work for the building of the Church and the kingdom of God. But not all of us are properly equipped to perform all tasks. But that is how God had created us. “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Romans 6:4-6). We all complement and supplement each other’s strengths. Some of us are deep thinkers with heads for doctrinal teaching and understanding; the “meat” if you will. Others have the gift of discernment and honesty; we may not always like what they have to say, but they are healthy for the growth of the church. Let’s call them the dark greens. Others are compassionate and sweet: the “puddings” of the bunch. All distinct elements that come together to form the complete meal. The analogy may be a rough one, but the parallel is there.
I do not really get homesick, but I will admit that on Thanksgiving Day proper I was acutely aware of what was going on back home and how far away I was from it all. I was even tempted to feel a bit sorry for myself, in a strange place far from family on a national holiday. But then I realized just how UN-thankful that would be. Here I am, in an amazing place, with a group of like-minded believers in Christ that have welcomed me into their midst and showered me with hospitality and brotherly love. This Thanksgiving I am profoundly thankful for the bonds of fellowship, and how encouraging it is to join together with other Christians from the other side of the world. While we each strive to serve each other with our best, we try to help one another grow and continue in the Christian life. Let us all rejoice in the blessing of fellowship, which God did not intend for any of us to be without.
Lauren Della Piazza