God weaves people together -- a Thanksgiving reminder
I have heard the story of Squanto and the earliest Thanksgiving, but I have never appreciated the miraculous nature of Squanto's role in the lives of the pilgrims. I was surfing around on Justin Taylor's blog Between Two Worlds and ran across a post about Thanksgiving. Taylor posts a CNN interview with Eric Metaxas, who wrote a children's book, Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, in 1999.
Metaxas looks at the Squanto story through the eyes of faith, and his account is powerful. Here is the point that grabbed my attention the most. Metaxas observes how after his village was wiped out by smallpox, Squanto was emotionally broken and was living in the woods by himself. In the settlement, the pilgrims were struggling for survival, half of them having died over the course of a brutal winter. They too were completely broken. Squanto appears out of the woods and helps them survive. Metaxas observes that in this story, God takes broken people and weaves them together, creating something beautiful.
Where I want to chime in is to say that this is what God always does. He weaves people together. Many people consider it deeply dubious to link God to the behavior of the English settlers. I am not here to defend them. I want to argue that where there was human compassion and caring relationship, that's where God was.
God weaves people together. These are the words I used in a sermon in Haiti after the earthquake. I went down there to provide pastoral care, and in the process found myself being interwoven with the people. My friends and I took on both their heartache and their hopes. In that sermon I spoke to Haitians from our neighborhood, observing, "God has woven us together. This is what God does. He weaves people together." Together is what God does. I wanted to remind the Haitians living in tents after the earthquake that God was making sure they were not alone.
Metaxas' remarks about Squanto reminded me of a greater truth that is the basis of thanksgiving in November or any time of the year: God weaves people together. That is what God does.