SERMON TITLE: “Gratitude: A Balance of Grit & Grace”
SERMON TEXT: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: November 15, 2020, at First UMC
Have you noticed how produce has changed in the grocery stores over the past few years? Instead of buying a bag of whole carrots that we have to peel and cut up into carrot sticks, now we buy those packages of baby carrots. Instead of buying a whole watermelon, a whole cantaloupe, and a whole pineapple, we might just buy a fruit tray already cut up in bite-sized pieces. Instead of buying a head of lettuce, now we buy a bag of salad mix—pre-cut and pre-washed, completely ready to eat. How different that is from the fresh vegetables some of us enjoyed from the First UMC Community Garden this past summer and early fall. While the garden volunteers cleaned up and bagged the produce to an amazing and labor-intensive extent, the very last vegetables of the fall reminded me where our food really comes from. Those freshly-dug carrots were covered in dirt and needed quite a scrubbing to get them clean.
The way we get our meat has changed too. As we’re looking toward Thanksgiving, I doubt any of you are planning to pluck your own bird. If you’re a ham lover, you might even purchase one that is already fully cooked and only needs to be heated up. For our non-holiday meals, rarely do we even buy a whole chicken that has to be cut into parts. Instead, we buy a Styrofoam tray of breasts or thighs, pork chops, steaks, ground beef, or stew meat, all easily-ready to drop into the skillet or pot. How different that is from when I was a kid, when my dad would go out hunting and bring home a whole deer. Pulling it out of the back of his pickup, the animal would be covered in fur and blood and no small amount of mud—as was my dad when he came home with it.
The vegetables right out of the church garden and that deer with dirt on it would be a lot like what the Pilgrims had at their legendary Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. Without any indoor or outdoor plumbing to clean up their food, no doubt their feast of gratitude included some grit as well as grace.