Carbondale's Faith Groups Gather in Thanksgiving

November 27, 2006

Author: Marleen Shepherd

Source: The Southern Illinoisan

CARBONDALE - The Rev. Tim Madison told an Interfaith Thanksgiving gathering Tuesday that he struggled with the Apostle Paul's directive to "give thanks in all circumstances."

As chaplain of Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Madison is a daily witness to "painful and undeserved" circumstances dealt to people of faith.

How could they be grateful in the face of such adversity? For what could they be grateful?

For the faithful, Madison has learned, gratitude is not merely a recognition that others are worse off, and that we should spend our emotional energy on addressing other's needs. Neither is it a patience-of-Job expectation that God will reward us later if we can suffer through without losing faith. Nor is it a phony Hallmark Greeting happy face we stick over our bad times.

"Thanksgiving means acting out of gratitude for some gift, some blessing that transcends that circumstance," Madison said. "There is something a person of faith has that no external condition can take, no crisis can destroy."