It’s that time of year when we are called to be still enough to reflect and give thanks in gratitude for all we have–even amid all that is troubling and not what we want, or perhaps, need it to be. These are, indeed, troubling times and certainly not all that we want or need them to be.

And yet, the arc of human history reveals a paradoxical, but powerful truth: sometimes, our most difficult and trying times are precisely the times filled with the most promise and potential. 

In the din of a revitalized machinery of racism, increased misogyny, classism, anti-LGBTQ sentiment, and anti-transgender legalism; amid the cries of children and families in distress, food deserts, a planet in peril and willful capitalist neglect; in the shouts of mounting anti-immigrant nationalism–amid the droning of all the problems we face–a resounding call to measurable action is roaring. It seems we humans need for the call for change to become a roar so we may hear it.

There are signs we, the people, are hearing the wailing call. 

And, as troubling as things are, there are also signs–however small–that we are, ultimately, a people given to hope. Every day, there are reasons to believe we are collectively becoming inspired to reflect and empowered to act decisively, intentionally, and responsively for the world we desire.

On this day of Thanksgiving, it is the seemingly small things for which I am grateful: the fact of the earth; the fact of lives that persist and resist; the fact of a world of trouble and promise; the fact of a Spirit that empowers us to hope and to work for realization of the promise.

So, I am sharing with you my Thanksgiving Invocation and my prayers for a wave of hope that carries us all into the new year and inspires us to keep striving.

Invocation

There is a spirit, ancient and eternal, within and among us all,
holding us, binding us together across time and difference,
joining us in an ever-evolving web of interdependent, sacred abiding.
For this, let us be grateful.

There is a world we inhabit–beautiful, vulnerable; troubled by division,
misunderstanding, and fear; yet, there remains a lingering hope
we can repair it, perhaps transform it into something different,
something more: something compassionate and just.
We are part of this world; we are part of this hope.
For this, let us be grateful.

There is an earth, ancient too, fertile and threatened
by mistreatment and neglect, yet there is an earth,
for the time being, sustaining, still, all of us and all that grows,
swims and slithers, creeps, crawls
and flies–all that lives, abides and walks upon it.
There, too, is a sound, in breeze-blown leaves, streaming water,
cricket calls and birdsong, in the echoes of our ancestors,
whispering, “look…listen, take care,” reminding us:
We are of this earth and it is part of us.
For this, let us be grateful.

There is a people–vital and needful, invigorated
by a persistent being-ness, a particularity of personhood
in communal belonging; beautiful too, vulnerable,
and under threat; and yet: there is a people:
who daily dare resilience and some measure of thriving,
who dream, and hope, strive and contribute.
We are this people–we the living, who dare to persist.
For this, let us be grateful.

And to this, we are called:
to be a people, mindful that we are bound by an abiding relational spirit;
to be repairers of a nearly broken world and bearers of something sustaining;
to be walkers of the earth who look, listen, and respond:
to be a people who hope, who dare to persist, and who care for all the living.
To this, we are called and gathered. For this, we are reminded
to be grateful and to strive. May it be so.

Rev. Liam Hooper

Reverend Liam M. Hooper, M.Div., is the founder of GRASP (Gender Revisioning and Sexuality Pathways), which aims to improve the lives of trans people in the community through public education, advocacy, activism, and general support activities. As an openly trans man, Li takes seriously the call to freely tell his story, to be as authentically who he is as possible, to engage in responsible education and advocacy, and to hear and respect the stories of others. Through trans advocacy work, awareness-raising, social justice work, education, and theological activism, Li strives to work for greater safety, freedom, and acceptance for trans people and all those in the vast, diverse continuum of persons.

Liam Hooper lives in the deep south with his wife, Diana, a freelance publishing professional who keeps his calendar in line, and their teenage son, who keeps them on their toes.

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