“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”

Those are the words of John Lennon who would have been 70 years of age today. As those of us in Canada mark the Thanksgiving weekend, these are words worth reflecting on. As we sit around our tables in the days ahead we will no doubt give thanks for many things. There will be talk of food, employment, our freedom, and our families. When we break it all down we come to realize that what makes us feel thankful or grateful are those things that make us feel cared for, embraced, and fulfilled. In short we are most thankful for the things that make us feel loved.

There will be much attention given to food over this weekend, in the meantime turkeys across the nation are bracing for the worst. We give thanks as we eat well for the food that we enjoy and we often focus our attention to giving to food banks as there are so many in need of food. At the same time we need to be reminded that what people also need is the gift of love that God gave so freely to us. Mother Teresa reminded that “being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” We have words of wisdom offered to us from two prophetic voices that have gone on from us.

As we offer our thanks this weekend, let us remember that what God has given to us all is an unbelievable gift of love. A time of thanksgiving should be a reminder to us that we cannot ‘just accept it and leave it in the cupboards’ of our lives and do nothing more with it. Moments like this serve to remind us that we need to water and nurture the love we have been given. What is more, we need to be prepared to share the precious plant that we have been given. The love that God has offered is a wonderful plant that can easy be clipped and shared. Unlike some plants which do not transplant very well, the love offered to us flourishes and is at its best when we share it with others.

Perhaps this weekend will be a great time for us to discover new places to share that plant with others. We may need to do a better job of sharing love in our family, with our friends and with those with whom we work. But it is more likely that we have already figured ways to share that love in our closest circles. We can turn our attention to sharing the forgiving, embracing and hope-filled love of God with those that are strangers to us. Theologian Jonanthan Sacks reminds us that in the Old Testament we are reminded no less than 67 times to love the stranger. Let us look at just one of those instances – Deut. 10:17-18;

[T]he Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt

Let us then take the opportunity to take the love that we are so grateful for and share it with the broken, the oppressed, the lonely and the forgotten. Let’s love by seeking out those that need the hope that love proclaims. Let’s address that poverty that Mother Teresa spoke of. We can be present to ‘the unwanted, the unloved, and the forgotten by everybody’ and share that love that Lennon spoke of.  As we go into our cupboards to get a canned item for the food bank, let us go into our spiritual cupboard and take time to water, to nurture and to share the love that god has given us.