Pastoral Reflections Rev. Robert P. Doner, pastor, Peace United Church of Christ Gladbrook, Iowa
November 8, 2012
A Time of Thanksgiving and Discipleship We are told from early Christian writings that the young Christian community was know by their caring for one another. Worshiping and sharing meals together as well as attending to each others’ need, these disciples of our Lord accepted that they were bound together by a mutual love for Christ and a genuine respect that Christ loved each of them-regardless of who they were. It was a simple discipleship; and it was part of a lifestyle that they had embraced which called them to be thankful. November is a time of thanksgiving. All Saints’ Day falls in November; many churches have their annual memorial service in November. It is a time when we celebrate the harvest with Thanksgiving Day. So, whether we remember the saints, who have given their lives for Jesus and lifted up Christ’s church in the light of his glory, or we remember those who have in more recent times gone before us and have acted as mentors and caregivers to us, we know that a significant part of thanksgiving is God’s gift of people who loved the Lord and showed their love by serving him and by caring for us. Such a gift is as wonderful as the gift of the Christ himself, who died in love to lift us into new life by his grace and glory. November is, of course, the remembrance of all of God’s blessings that we have received from the bounty of his creation. This we often take for granted unless, like this past year, we worried about the effects of a hot, dry growing season; or , if we realize how fortunate we are as we look at the massive damage hurricane Sandy caused when it slammed into the East coast. If the truth be told, we are extremely blessed and should therefore be extremely thankful. There are ways by which we can make this time of thanksgiving and discipleship more alive for ourselves. It is a simple matter of making a difference. It is choosing to be the steward of nature and creation that we can be. That means to take less from our world and to take corrective, restorative measures to ensure that the gifts and blessings we have enjoyed will be there for future generations. It means to discern our personal gifts that can be given over to the Lord in service to others. And, while that seems relatively simple to do at Thanksgiving and Christmas, the point is to make loving, caring, and sharing a life choice to be lived daily. The spirit of thanksgiving and true discipleship rests upon that commitment to the Lord. Embrace the spirit of this time of thanksgiving and discipleship! Be filled with the Spirit and know the joy of a life that is sacred!
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