This coming Thursday, most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving. Maybe we will also remember the very first Thanksgiving in this land of ours. Edward Winslow was one of the pilgrims present at that first thanksgiving, and his was the only eyewitness account which was written down. He described that celebration with the Native Americans in this way:
. . . amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, and many of the Indians coming among us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, [not turkeys] which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty. ("The First Thanksgiving, 1621," EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com, 2010)
Now, if you know the history between the Native Americans and the pilgrims, it was not always this cordial. Both before and after this first Thanksgiving, there were terrible killings on both sides. But, for a few days, people from different cultures, who rightly or wrongly had great distrust of each other, sat down at a meal and enjoyed each other's fellowship. Winslow attributes this to "the goodness of God."
What does the coming kingdom of God look like? It looks like that! It looks like the first thanksgiving. That celebration seems to demonstrate the words found in scripture that say, "People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God." (Luke 13:29, NIV) I believe those words point forward through history to that time when we will all sit around a great table -- feasting in God's kingdom! So, when you gather around your Thanksgiving table this Thursday, let that meal remind you of what the coming kingdom of God looks like.