I've always been a little wary of limiting something like thanksgiving to a specific weekend of the year. The Scriptures are clear again and again that we are to be thankful always.
In that light, let's keep it going with this thought from Henri Nouwen.
"Gratitude is not a simple emotion or an obvious attitude. It is a difficult discipline to constantly reclaim my whole past as the concrete way in which God has led me to this moment and is sending me into the future. It is hard precisely because it challenges me to face the painful moments – experiences of rejection and abandonment, feelings of loss and failure – and gradually to discover in them the pruning hands of God purifying my heart for deeper love, stronger hope, and broader faith."
God loves you!
We often hear how hard it can be to respond with forgiveness when wronged. Yet we are called to it nonetheless. What we don't hear about as often is the power that lies within this act of forgiveness. The triumph of Jesus over evil is shared with us as we forgive others as we have been forgiven by God.
The following was found written on a wrapping paper at Ravensbruck concentration camp in WW2:
"Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted upon us. Remember rather the fruits we brought, thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown out of this. And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their forgiveness."
The following quote is from Jean Vanier, a great Canadian Christian leader from times past who exemplified compassion and service in the name of Christ.
"Welcoming is not just something that happens as people cross the threshold. It is an attitude; it is the constant openness of the heart; it is saying to people every morning and at every moment, “come in”; it is giving them space; it is listening to them attentively. To welcome means listening a great deal to people and then discerning the truth with them."
Let us keep this spirit of welcome alive in us day to day.
Today's Lenten thoughts are from Ann Spangler:
"The risen Jesus had appeared, not to rulers and kings, nor even first of all to his male disciples, but to a woman whose love had held her at the cross and led her to the grave. Mary Magdalene, a person who had been afflicted by demons, whose testimony would not have held up in court because she was a woman, was the first witness of the resurrection. Once again, God had revealed himself to the lowly, and it would only be the humble whose hearing was sharp enough to perceive the message of his love."
As we prepare to celebrate Palm Sunday and Holy Week at REMC, I am reminded of the cost of following Jesus, and the courage that was especially demonstrated by women. They joined the happy crowd at the parade of his triumphal entry, and they were still there, alone, at the foot of the cross, and again at his grave. Lord, give me that heart.
Pastor Ward Parkinson