Tag Archives: Thanksgiving 2022


Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free…

I am free to walk with my face and hair visible – and without an escort. I am free to wear a hijab. I can commune with God and neighbor in a temple, synagogue, mosque, meeting house, or church; I can choose not to worship God. I can drive across the country without documentation beyond a valid license and car registration. I can run for political office. I can vote. All these things are available because I live in a place that offers civil liberties as part of the rule of law. This kind of freedom, this freedom from soul diminishing restrictions, is a rare gift that is too often under-valued or not valued at all by the ones who receive it. It’s in its absence that freedom is seen for its true worth.

There’s another aspect to freedom: what I’m supposed to do with it. Freedom from various things is in the news all the time, but freedom for acting in ways that show love for God, self, and neighbor rarely gets air time. How I use my freedom reveals how I honor the gift that it is.

I doubt there’s a better time to assess just how well I’m doing with my freedom than right now.

Aaron Copland


Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free, tis the gift to come down where we ought to be

And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ’twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d, to bow and to bend we shall not be asham’d,

To turn, turn will be our delight, ’til by turning, turning we come round right.

Traditional Shaker Hymn, Joseph Brackett, Jr.

Right thought.

Do no harm.

Right Action.

Tell the truth.

Clean up after yourself.

Take care of God’s creation.

The basics of a good life are not particularly complex. Jesus put it this way: Love God, Love Neighbor, Love Self. That’s it: six words that open the door to a beautiful, holy life. Why do we do our best to make it more complex, adding unnecessary and often harmful additions and provisos? If I had to guess, I’d stake my money on another basic truth:

Simple and easy are not the same thing.