The Pilgrim - November 20, 2016
Sunday Celebration Notes
Celebrating God's Love Every Sunday at 10 am
We are here to talk about the relationship humanity has with Mother Earth.
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director,
Indigenous Environmental Network
As Thanksgiving approaches, let us pause and consider the situation at Standing Rock. Check out this video, which shows our wider church in action at Standing Rock: "We Stand with Standing Rock."
In the many sentimental depictions of Thanksgiving that exist, there are few that capture the complexity of this holiday's history. As you know, our congregation is a direct descendant of the Pilgrims, who came to this continent seeking religious freedom on the Mayflower. You are also likely aware that the survival of that struggling pilgrim settlement was due to the generosity of and alliances with the Native American people; the Wampanoag nation made a political treaty with England, providing protection for the travel-weakened pilgrim settlement. And as we watch the protest at Standing Rock endure, I cannot escape the disconcerting knowledge that our holiday symbolizes the beginning of colonialist expansion into a “New World” that was already fully populated.
I am very proud of the independent-thinking, civically-engaged, scholarly-faithful Pilgrim tradition that is alive at First Congregational and in our wider church denomination, the United Church of Christ, but any pride in our history must be tempered by honesty and responsibility for our contributions to the injustices perpetrated by ideologies of Manifest Destiny and the Doctrine of Discovery: "The Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery."
And one of the best ways to heal the wrongs of the past is to stand for justice in the present. As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, consider how your celebration might show respect for the struggle at Standing Rock or support the healing of our earth. And give thanks with a joyful heart, knowing that the arc of the universe bends toward justice and wholeness for all of God’s creation.
The Rev. Elena Larssen