Hundreds of years ago, driven by the impulse that life could be more, our forefathers left the old continent in search of a new life. They left everything they had (and were) behind. They braved vast seas, suffered long journeys, and faced uncertainty to levels few of us experience today – all for the promise of a better life.
None that set foot on the new continent in those days had the foresight they would bring about the largest market economy in the world or assemble the mightiest army history has ever seen. Their ambitions were considerably smaller: to survive the harsh elements of the new world and to build a new, more fulfilling life. Indeed, they did.
They outlasted all the harsh conditions of their time: the cold weather of the new land as well as the stifling mentality of the old world. The first, they conquered together through sheer effort and will; the latter, they vanquished through a new way of looking at life that eventually led to the forging of a nation dedicated to equity and justice for all.
Four hundred years later, we find ourselves the heirs to this legacy. If there are no geographic distances left to overcome today, our voyage is altogether of a different nature though it beckons us forward still: to uphold and expand the proposition that all people were created equal and that, as such, we find ourselves unalterably connected through nature and purpose. The seas we brave today are of intolerance; the long journeys we suffer are towards equality in all senses; but the uncertainty we face today is not of if we will prevail but rather of when we will prevail.
The one fundamental lesson we derive from different times and different places is that there is one unifying force governing us all; and that this Creator, ever‑present, and ever-loving, has endowed us with the ability to make our own fate through our choices and our actions. As we stand at the threshold of new times, we rejoice at the trust placed on us by the Creator and by generations past, all standing with us now as we look into the future ready to make our mark. This is our time – and our chance to foster a new world full of justice through our own choices and, ultimately, through our own actions. What are we choosing to do?
If we have come a long way to address inequity, there is much more we can still do to ensure every one of ours is fed, cared for, and educated. If God has made us equal in nature, we must make ourselves equals in society. Let us start today, honoring the spirit of Thanksgiving by giving thanks to everything we have received, both blessings and challenges, because they place us a step closer to realizing our potential – and God’s Heaven on Earth.