Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Thanksgiving Day is not a Church holiday. It’s actually a national holiday, but the idea of giving thanks to God is a very Christian one. It’s part of who we are as people of God. I sat and counted that in a typical setting of Holy Communion, we mention giving thanks quite a few times in each service. For example:
“The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.”
“We offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us—our selves, our time, and our
possessions, signs of your gracious love.
“Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise…”

In fact, another name for Holy Communion, Eucharist, actually means “thanksgiving.” In reality, every Sunday is a thanksgiving day. Tonight we will be having a Eucharist service at Amazing Grace at 7 p.m. to celebrate Thanksgiving. Sing hymns of thanks to God, and then stay for some fellowship time together eating some pie.

I realize that I am not always as intentional as I should be in being thankful. I take so much for granted. Here is a start of my list of things I am thankful for as pastor at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church:

Faithful people gathered around God’s word
A congregation that can disagree with one another with grace and civility
Resilience in the midst of lots of change and transition
Health insurance
A secretary who takes care of the details
A musician who approaches the piano with creativity and energy
A council president who I don’t thank enough
Confirmation students who ask me tough questions
The chance to collaborate with neighboring congregations for confirmation
Children who play on our swings
A presiding bishop in the ELCA who is willing to take risks
Angel Food Ministry
A Life after Loss group that has strengthened people experiencing grief
The list could go on and on…
Thanks be to God!

(Adapted from my column in the November 2010 newsletter of Amazing Grace Lutheran Church).

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