November 2018

Greetings to the Holy People of God,

Come Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.
O give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever. Amen.

This is the table prayer that I grew up with as our family of 5 kids, two parents and one grandparent prayed together before we ate. This is how I was taught to say thank you. I don’t have memories of my mom or dad saying, say thank you. But I’m sure they did. I remember telling my own children, “now what do you say?” Giving thanks is something we learn over and over again and it changes us.

In an episode of The Simpsons, young Bart sits down with his family to a meal. When it's his turn to pray and give thanks, he says something to this effect: Lord, my dad earned the money to pay for this food and my mom worked for hours to cook it. What did you do? Thanks a lot for nothing.''

Bart Simpson is a cartoon character of a satirical working class family that pokes fun while criticizing social issues. It’s one way to get us to look at ourselves. It’s a way to get us to look at the self we don’t readily want to see. The old Adam and Eve self that says I want to know good and evil for myself. The brother Cain who kills the best part of himself when he takes his brother’s life and now really does know good and evil up close and personal and is pulled out of relationship with God as well. The book of Genesis witnesses to us how quickly we can and do turn from God. Giving thanks to God and giving thanks for each other is a beautiful discipline to draw us into relationship with each other.

I use a form an Ignatian prayer where I begin with seeing myself loved by God, created in God’s imagine and asking for God to shed light in this time of prayer. Then I give thanks and then I explore where I have drawn close to God and where I have pulled away from God and then I conclude with this: I resolve to be open to the changes you are calling forth from within and will help me to change.

When I was reading about this Ignatian form of prayer, someone said that the form is designed to open a person up with God’s love and a sense of thankfulness so that we can do the hard work of exploring and looking at the areas where we pull away from God. I have found this to be true. I need to be soften a bit, so that I can really take a good look at myself and see the sinner that I am and admit to the brokenness that God wants to redeem and heal so that God’s love and grace can shine through. I am thankful for this process.

As a community of faith this month will give us ample opportunity to give thanks. We begin with All Saints Sunday, by giving thanks to all those who have die, who have gone before us and left their impressions upon us and we give thanks for the newly baptized who remind us of the new life that God is about. We will give thanks for our 9th grade students; Alex Kimura, Sage Marks and Alex Rohm who will confirm their faith. We will work together to pack meals for Take Away Hunger and then sit down and enjoy a thanksgiving meal together on November 18. On Christ the King Sunday we will welcome our new Director of Music Ministries, Kevin Edens and welcome our 5th graders to the table for Holy Communion.

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good and his mercy endures forever. Giving thanks opens us to receive God’s mercy when we know that we deserve God’s justice. O give thanks to the Lord for he is good.

Believing It Boldly Loving Everyday,

Pastor Connie Spitzack