This Thanksgiving While We Fill Our Stomachs: Remember!
By Rev. Dr. Rick Belous
I hope you are having-- or had-- a very happy Thanksgiving. The vast majority of Unity Center of Tulsa members and friends sit down to sumptuous Thanksgiving feasts with family and/or friends. I know the Belous family shares in this tradition. My five year old daughter, Therese, has insisted that she wants to eat a drumstick this year, not to mention a ton of cranberry sauce.
But as we enjoy this abundance it is important to remember the many people in the greater Tulsa community who will not be experiencing this Thanksgiving peace, plenty, and joy. Yes, "Our thoughts are prayers, and we are always praying" (as the old Unity song goes). Yes, there is the Third Basic Unity Principle. As stated so well in the Law of Mind-Action: "A thought in mind produces after its kind." In many cases "poverty thinking and actions" produce poverty. And as that great New Thought slogan puts it: "Change your thinking, and you change your life."
Nevertheless, there are some key biblical truths that I believe we should keep in mind this holiday season, including:
--That we are "our brother's keeper" as Cain learned.
--That "what you did to least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did to me," as Jesus put it.
--That as the Book of James says, "The essence of true religion is to feed the hungry, take care of the sick," and show compassion to the marginalized in our society.
Hunger is more of a problem in greater Tulsa and Oklahoma than many of us realize. For example:
--25 % of Oklahoma's children are at risk of going to bed hungry.
--Over 10 % of Oklahoma's senior citizens struggle with hunger,
--More than 16 % of our statewide population is considered food insecure (i.e., they go through one or more periods per year when they don't know where the next meal is coming from). That translates to 635,000 Oklahomans (and roughly 219,000 are children).
--Oklahoma's rate of food insecurity is well above the national average.
This holiday season you can make a positive difference. At UCOT we are having several opportunities to help our neighbors in the critical area of hunger and clothing including:
--The children of UCOT decided to hold a food drive to help the hungry in greater Tulsa. This idea did NOT come from either the Board or me. It came from the kids and their teachers. Please support this food drive by bringing canned and dry food to UCOT. There are boxes in the UCOT atrium where you can place your donations. Thank you for the many contributions that have been already made!
--On Dec. 7 (at 1 pm) UCOT members and friends will be volunteering at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. The Community Food Bank does so much good for greater Tulsa. Give yourself a real gift this holiday: Step out of your comfort zone and volunteer! Sign up sheets are in the UCOT atrium, or you can call me. My phone number is: 571-215-9481.
--This holiday season we are also collecting hats, gloves, and scarves for men of the HOW Foundation. These men are recovering from various addictions. You can also donate toiletries and sweets. The donation box is in the UCOT sanctuary.
In 2020, I hope to have many more opportunites where UCOT members and friends can help our neighbors. Remember that when Jesus was asked, "Who is my neighbor?," he gave a very broad and compassionate response. I agree with the author of the Book of James: This is an essence of real spirituality.
I hope you have a very blessed holiday season this year. Be a blessing to others!
Rev. Dr. Rick Belous
Unity Center of Tulsa