Last night the Billerica Clergy Association sponsored the Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration. The service was held at First Parish Church (Unitarian Universalist), which is the quintessential New England church on the town common. It was great to be with many people from the Billerica community.
Since I was the newest person to join the Billerica Clergy Association, they chose me to give the sermon. In the sermon I asked: what do we possess that we did not first receive? Then, I noted how that when God gives us gifts they are not merely for ourselves, but to for the service of something greater than the individual. I lamented how the Wednesday before Thanksgiving has statistically been the biggest day for alcohol drinking in the United States. Drawing on the first reading from Mass yesterday, I noted how under the influence of too much alcohol King Belshazzar made a bad decision which led to the prophesy of his destruction, interpreted by Daniel. King Belshazzar ordered that gold and silver vessels of the Jerusalem Temple be taken and used in their revelry. This was a bad use of his freedom. Those vessels were set aside for the worship of God so it was a sacrilege for them to be used at a drunken party. I tried to show how the same thing happens when we make ill-use of our God-given freedom. I concluded by noting how gratitude is always the best posture to assume when one receives a gift.
From left to right: Jared Koyle, Billerica Ward, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; Elder Matthew Vixie, Billerica Seventh-Day Adventist Church; Rev. Bruce Taylor, First Parish Church, Unitarian Universalist; Rigel Lustwerk, Baha’i Community of Billerica; Seth Johnson, Bishop, Billerica Ward, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; your unworthy servant; Rev. Katherine Adams, First Congregational Church of Billerica; Shirley Terrill Holdman, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Lexington; missing from the picture is Rev. Edward Bacon, North Billerica Baptist Church.