Gather Us In

The New Colossus

by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.


“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


Dear Friends,

I remember my first Thanksgiving meal after I arrived here. It was at the American Legion Post 151 in Middletown, New York. With a family of six hungry mouths to feed, the welcome and generosity was overwhelming and received with much gratitude.



Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving in different ways according to their family practices and traditions. Some are ultra traditional dating back to the first Thanksgiving meal between the Pilgrims and Indigenous people in 1621. But as often happens, new versions emerge as this nation and its people have evolved.



Gratitude and sharing continues to be a central theme for me. I wonder what you are thankful for. Often, it will be the small things in life, it doesn’t need to be much. Thankful for health and wellness, for family and friends, for faith and fellowship.



We are thankful for the generosity of Fun ‘n’ Friends families who donated groceries for Thanksgivings Baskets. Some will go to families we know and the rest to the Mount Olive Food Pantry.



Perhaps you know of someone who will be alone this year on Thanksgiving Day. We all know that most kitchens and fridges will be overflowing with food this week, so if you have room at your table, maybe you could invite them over.



This nation which is founded on the idea of freedom and welcome to the immigrant fleeing persecution continues to gather people together. Combine that sentiment with faith and we begin to create a wonderful communion that is holy.


One of my favorite communion hymns is

“Here In This Place” (Gather Us In)
by Marty Haugen (Glory to God #401)

Not in the dark of buildings confining,
Not in some heaven, light years away:

Here in this place the new light is shining;
Now is the kingdom, now is the day.
Gather us in and hold us forever;
Gather us in and make us your own:
Gather us in all peoples together,
Fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

Pastor Cliff