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!
At New Year's a number of us gathered for fellowship and as the New Year dawned we were enjoying people's reflections of the past year/decade and how God has led them, through both good times and real trials.
Today this quote from Henri Nouwen reminded me of those thoughts. As we think about our lives, if we keep the Cross at the center of our vision, the perspective Jesus offers is ALWAYS pointed to hope.
"Jesus calls us to recognize that gladness and sadness are never separate, that joy and sorrow really belong together, and that mourning and dancing are part of the same movement. That is why Jesus calls us to be grateful for every moment that we have lived, and to claim our unique journey as God’s way to mold our hearts to greater conformity with God’s own. The cross is the main symbol of our faith, and it invites us to find hope where we see pain, and to reaffirm the resurrection where we see death. The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment of our life can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads us to new life."
- Henri Nouwen.
If the cold of winter is getting to you, maybe the following quote from G.K. Chesterton will bring a little spring to your day.
As the Grandpa to three little ones, I smiled as I pictured God in this way:
"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."
- G.K. Chesterton
On this date in 1536 Menno Simons left the Roman Catholic church to join the Anabaptists. He eventually became a leader in their midst.
For me as an English Canadian with British roots, to carry the name Mennonite speaks nothing of ancestry or culture. It represents a Christian faith heritage of following Jesus with conviction, seeking to embody the Good News as children of light.
I wonder how many of our members have read any of Menno's writings.
Ever feel like your life is so mundane and ordinary, wondering, "Does anyone really notice the things I do?"
Colossians 3:17 says "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
May this quote from Mother Teresa encourage you today: "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. Nothing is small for our good God, for he is great and we are small. That is why he lowers himself and cares to do small things, in order to offer us an opportunity to show him our love. Since he does them, they are great things, they are infinite. Nothing he does can be small. Again: practice fidelity even in the least things, not for their own sake, but for the sake of what is great – that is, the will of God."
Did you know one of the most important ways to demonstrate your faith to others is simple gratitude? Over and over in the Scriptures we are urged to be thankful. It is not a hard command, but we can often forget to give thanks to God.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, the only long weekend that comes with specific instructions. How about going to our church's FB page and saying what you're thankful for. God is GOOD!
Pastor Ward Parkinson