Recently, I saw a post on Facebook by Lysa TerKeurst entitled, “The Treasure of Thrown-Away Food” and it caught my attention. How could thrown-away food be a treasure? A Liberian boy had written a story about the corruption and greed that caused the civil war in his country. He had lived the first 13 years of his life in an orphanage there and “he described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash looking for the treasure of thrown-away food.” Most of us have never been hungry enough to have to search the trash to find food to eat. And yet, in the richest country in the world, according to Hunger in America, there are over 50 million people that go hungry in America. That is 1 in 6 of the U.S. population – including more than 1 in 5 children!
Back in 1970, forty-three years ago, the Festival of Praise began in a rather inauspicious way as Kitt Watts envisioned the Sabbath before Thanksgiving as a time when Sligo members would bring food to share with those in need. From its humble beginnings, it has become a tradition for outreach in a worship service where music and praise mingle as hundreds of worshippers bring gifts of food in dozens and dozens of grocery bags. And then dozens of Pathfinders, Youth and Adults prepare the food for distribution to over 1,000 families with the assistance of Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington. This is the way we celebrated God’s divine goodness last Sabbath. It was truly thanksgiving to God.
As I contemplate the gifts for which I’m thankful, first of all it’s for the gift of God’s Son. And then I’m especially grateful for my family—including my Sligo family. As you celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones, I would like to challenge you to pause, notice and choose something for which you can truly be thankful.