Though there is an alternate set of readings that can be used for Thanksgiving day, I thought I’d stick with 1 Peter as we work through this book together.
The passage begins by calling us to “conduct ourselves honorably amongst the Gentiles, so that…they may glorify God.” The principle here seems to be that it is important we behave in such a way as to draw people to God.
At Thanksgiving, we may well spend time with people who do not believe as deeply as we do, and perhaps who do not believe at all. For them, Thanksgiving may simply be about feasting on turkey and pumpkin pie and watching foot ball games.
Might there be an occasion to put this first principle into practice? Might this day provide us a chance to in some way favorably witness to the God we love? I’m guessing it will. The larger question is whether or not we’ll make the most of the opportunity given us.
Then there is a section about living with proper courtesy, honor, and respect for authority. I’m also guessing Thanksgiving—the travel it often entails, the activities it involves, the time with family and friends—will also give us plenty of chances to be gracious, well-mannered, and appropriately submissive (not insisting on our own way might be one way of thinking about that) in our dealings with one another.
The passage closes with a reflection on all God has done for us in Christ Jesus. I hope that all of us will take time today to reflect on that, and to appropriately and intentionally express how grateful we are for God’s love and all the blessings that flow from it.
Finally, I love the last image, of Christ as the “shepherd and guardian of our souls”. It is the image of a God who wants the best for us, who we can trust to care for us even when we don’t know how to care for ourselves. It is a God we would do well to spend time with and learn from and love.
May this holiday weekend give us extended time to do just that.