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Happy Thanksgiving!

22 Nov

We have created a Thanksgiving Grace for you to use at Thanksgiving dinner, or whenever you eat with friends and family. Click here to download and print it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Gospel Reflection for November 27, 2016, 1st Sunday Advent

24 Nov

Sunday Readings: Isaiah 2.1-5, Romans 13.11-14, Matthew 24.37-44

Thanksgiving gatherings are troubling many folks after the election. The gospel that begins the church year wakes us up to love one another. The gospel is about Jesus’ coming again, an event that seems far off, but the gospel uses the flood in the time of Noah and a thief in one’s home as convincing examples that the time to wake up to God’s coming among us is always now.

The birth of Jesus reveals a divine value in human life and relationships. The birth of God in human flesh is an emptying of divine prerogative and a privileging of our human capacities to heal, share, forgive, reconcile, free, accompany. Now is the time to live like Jesus. Now is the moment to feed the hungry, to forgive those we really love, to restore depressed spirits to joy. Now is the time to watch birds eating the seeds of last summer’s blooms and to let I love you and I’m proud of you no longer go unsaid. Now is the time to give ourselves to those we love and those whose lives we touch.

Isaiah urges us to train for war no more, to beat our swords into pruning hooks, our bombs into bread, to build peace in our families and our world.

What family rituals do you value most for holding those you love together?

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Giving Thanks

23 Nov
Photo via Flickr user Tyler Neyens

Photo via Flickr user Tyler Neyens

 

O give thanks to the Lord, for he
is good,
for his steadfast love endures
forever.
-Psalm 136:1

When I was little, my mom required us to make homemade thank you cards for everything. It became second nature, habit. As an adult, it is still part of my spiritual practice. I don’t use construction paper and markers as much anymore, but I do enjoy the task of sitting down to write a detailed, personalized thank you. I like to think about my gratitude and put words to it. Specificity helps awaken, deepen and broaden my gratitude.

The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.”

-2 Chronicles 5:13

Every Thanksgiving, my spouse and I make twenty pies the day before and serve them to our friends for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. It is probably the most decadent thing we do all year. People love it, taking a moment of abundance to indulge in the bounty. Giving thanks to God and each other is so important on Thanksgiving and beyond. It changes are hearts and eyes. It invites us to focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have. It reminds me to approach people and things I can take for granted with renewed reverence, curiosity, respect and love.

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

-2 Corinthians 9:11

A well placed, heartfelt, specific thank you changes the energy in the air in a way that is contagious. Its spirit can grow exponentially. It is a practice that can change our worldview, posturing, outlook and energy individually and collectively. This Thanksgiving, I’m deeply grateful for my spouse, son, and baby growing inside of me. I am thankful for my co-workers and a fulfilling job. I am blessed with family, shelter, food, safety and community. I’m thankful for warm coffee, clean water, laughter, soft blankets, engaging books, beautiful music, a healthy body, and pie. In an age of cynicism, polarization, fear and scarcity, when the reach and strength of oppression can take our breath away, let us continue to give thanks and allow that gratitude to bring more beauty into a hurting world.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7
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