As the clock ticks down to another Thanksgiving celebration, take time to pause and give thanks for the many blessings in your life. As the people of St. Andrew's, we have much to be thankful for as another year in mission is coming to a close:
Thanks be to God for the children and youth of our congregation. They are not the future of our church but a very important part of our present with incredible gifts to share. In many ways, they remind all of us of the joy of living as beloved and forgiven children of God. Also, thank you to John, Jennifer, Janice, committed Sunday School teachers and youth leaders, and all those who continue to create ministries to release the energy and gifts of our young people.
Thanks be to God for our older members, whose faithfulness in worship and prayer and service inspires us and challenges us in our daily walk of discipleship.
Thanks be to God for new members among us who lift our spirits with fresh perspective and energy.
Thanks be to God for those whose hard work, dedication, love of the Lord, and love of the church, created such a beautiful worship space, which reminds us of the Triune God who names us and claims us as God's own, which reminds us of our mission as the people of God, and which sustains and strengthens our worship together. Also, thanks be to God for those faithful servants who continue to repair and maintain our mission center.
Thanks be to God for our incredible staff: Eileen, Janice, John Mary Jo, Joe, and Chuck, who help us all to be more effective as servants in this community.
Thanks be to God for people with generous open hands and hearts. Many blessings are being extended to those in need during the winter months ahead through your donations of food, blankets, quilts, children's clothing, and toys.
Thanks be to God for those who have given generously of their time and talents and wealth to further the ministry of St. Andrew's.
Above all, thanks be to God for the love that God has shown and continues to show to us. In the words of St. Paul, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." God continues to forgive us and welcome us into his kingdom every day.
Personally, our family is very thankful for the opportunity to live in this community and I give thanks to God each day for the wonderful opportunity and tremendous privilege of serving as your pastor. We will have many challenges as a congregation in the months ahead. However, the challenges ahead of us are never as great as the power behind us.
Loving God, open our hearts to accept your overflowing love, to live lives of thanksgiving, and to share your profound love with others. Amen.
If you are traveling in the days ahead, we pray that your journeys will be safe and your homecomings joyful. And on behalf of the staff and council of St. Andrew's Church, we wish all of you a truly blessed Thanksgiving.