(2) As we remember and give thanks to our Veterans on Veterans Day, our Thanksgiving holiday just a few weeks away, beckons us to give thanks to God for the past year of our lives and all the gifts we have received. As that wonderful Thanksgiving hymn tells us:
We thank thee, then, O Father,Such gratefulness is rooted in our understanding that our lives are meant to be lived as thanksgiving. And yet life is too often in our society treated as a possession that can be taken from us, damaged or lost, and then our lives become filled with fear causing us to cling and protect them from others.
for all things bright and good,
the seed-time and the harvest,
our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
for all your love imparts,
with what we know you long for:
our humble, thankful hearts.
All good gifts around us
are sent from heaven above;
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
for all his love.
“The antidote to this fear,” as the author Richard Beck puts it, “is gratitude, viewing life--the whole of life--not as a possession to be defended but as a gift to be shared. Think of everything you possess, everything that is yours in life. How can we live with these things in a way that doesn't entangle us? In a way that isn't sinful?” Beck says…This week, you will receive in the mail our annual stewardship pledge drive materials. I invite you to see your pledge as a way of living your life in thanksgiving, an offering, a gift of thanksgiving for all that you have received this year. A gift you offer as disciples of Jesus in this place.
“Receive them as gifts. When we handle the things of the world as gifts they become holy, consecrated and sanctified…Thankfulness sanctifies the world because thankfulness creates the capacity to use things--by letting them go or sharing them--in holy ways.” (http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-world-is-made-holy-through-thanks.html)
You can turn in the pledge sheet next Sunday. If you haven’t made a pledge for this year, I invite you to begin your pledge for 2015, next Sunday. This year, you can set up your contributions online (monthly, twice a month or one-time) through our partner FaithStreet giving. It is safe and secure and easy to set up.
In whatever way, in whatever amount you decide, remember, that all good gifts around us are sent from heaven above; and by what we share out of gratefulness, our lives will be thanksgiving, for the goodness of the Lord. Amen.