A November Thought Experiment.
What is a “Thought Experiment” (or in German a Gedankenexperiment)?
The idea of a thought experiment is to think about the consequences of an idea or hypotheses when it is not possible, practical, or desirable to implement the idea in real life. I’m suggesting that we do some “thought experiments” to help us prepare for a Thanksgiving celebration.
In each thought experiment we will consider a blessing, and then think about what it would be like not to have that blessing.
For example, let’s consider sunlight. Because we have the sun, we have warmth, energy, seasons, photosynthesis, plants, crops, food, and life. Without sunlight we have eternal darkness, cold, and no life at all.
Let’s consider health. Our bodies are wonderfully equipped to keep us healthy by fighting off dis-ease and healing of what has become broken. When our bodies are not up to the task, we have health care that includes medicines, technology and supportive care at home and in a hospital. Without health and healthcare, we are subject to disease and death. Just think about what happens when Ebola strikes a nation without the healthcare resources needed to contain it and to support those who become ill.
Let’s consider civil society. We live in a nation that, for the most part, is governed by the rule of law, the values of life, liberty, equality, and individual freedom. Without these precious gifts, we can im-agine living in a society of oppression, injustice, discrimination, and senseless cruelty. We have no intrinsic worth, but become a commodity to be bought and sold.
Finally, let’s consider our faith. Because of our faith in a loving, creator-God, we have been given a promise that each human being is a precious child of God, loved in this world, and promised the gift of eternal life. We are given a savior, Jesus, who guides us and ensures our connection between the human and the divine. Without faith, we are hopeless, alone and abandoned. We have no re-assurance of purpose in our life and no gift of family and community.
This month, in preparation for the Thanksgiving observance, let’s do our thought experiments. Take each aspect of your live, and then imagine what it would be like without that blessing. I hope that we will all become more appreciative of what we have been given. I hope that we all become more compassionate and helpful to those who have less. I hope that our gratitude will overflow in a song of thanksgiving, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Trust in God, Pastor Thom