Gratitude is a powerful emotion. We all know times when we are just thankful-maybe when we realize how fortunate we are or when we narrowly escaped misfortune. Last month we felt the joy of a new grandson born into our family. Welcoming a new child was an overwhelming feeling-how could I not be grateful?
We may feel thankful when we have been given a gift, whether from someone we know well, or an unexpected gift from someone who simply surprised us. That emotion of thanks comes up often in scripture. People often worship God in the Bible as an expression of thankfulness and praise. We can do the same. Often I find my own prayers begin with words of thankfulness to God for what I have experienced recently. I like how German mystic, Meister Eckhart, put it,
“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ it would be enough.”
Even when we have faced a difficult year, we may find places of gratitude. Even when life’s hardships find and meet us, God keeps reaching in. The Apostle Paul once made the comment where sin increased in the world, grace abounded all the more, (Romans 5:20). God doesn’t stop working even when life’s problems confront us and try to derail us. My prayer this Thanksgiving season is that you will notice these moments where God’s love meets you in surprising but important places. I know that Kim and I are thankful to be here at Lakeview. God has brought us all together in this church community and it is a blessing to be sharing in ministry together.
I also want to urge you to send in your pledge card to the church office. Your pledge is an estimate of giving. I know that some years, that estimate may need to change as life changes for you during the year. That is certainly fine. Your pledge helps us greatly in developing a funding plan for our ministry at Lakeview for the year ahead so that we are able to do all that God is asking of us. Thank you for your help!
Finally, I share with you some important news about our practice of Holy Communion in worship. We have been offering communion every Sunday in worship since this spring. Starting in November, we will continue to offer communion every Sunday at the 8:00 am service. We will return to our former practice of having communion on the first Sunday of the month at the 9:30 am worship service. We will be using some of our United Methodist liturgy as we bless and take the bread and the cup. We have rich and informative traditions in our communion liturgy that provide us with worshipful language and an understanding of what communion means and how we understand the life and continued presence of Jesus Christ in our experience of communion. I know that communion means much to us. I look forward to continuing to share this important part of our worship together in meaningful and life-giving ways.
In faith, Pastor Dave