Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Recognizing the Blessing

It’s early October which means that Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow.

Okay, time doesn’t quite go by quite that fast. 

Or at least it shouldn’t!

In Germany, Erntedankfest is a harvest festival
 that includes worship services.
Thanksgiving is an original American holiday but other countries also observe festivals where gratitude is the emphasis.  The Koreans have a similar holiday known as Chuseok that pre-dates our Thanksgiving.  It is actually also similar to our Memorial Day in that Korean people seek to honor their ancestors on this day and often visit the grave sites of family members. 

My own family traditions for Thanksgiving have changed through the years.  When my grandparents were living, we would gather there for the holiday feast with uncles, aunts and cousins.  My mother’s mother lived on a farm and before they retired, the vegetables came from their garden.  The milk was fresh from the cow.  It was much richer than what we normally bought at the store!  My grandmother always prepared multiple desserts too.  Her rhubarb cobbler was my favorite – I liked the tart flavor and you couldn’t get it just anywhere.  I also enjoyed her green beans.  They tasted so good and were different from any others I’d ever had.  When I finally asked my mom about how Grandma prepared them, she told me that she boiled them with sugar!  No wonder they had a distinct flavor!

At Thanksgiving, my Grandma would always pray.  As a child, I appreciated the vigor in her prayers much more than the length.  But I miss her and would be happy to hold off on eating to hear another one.

This Sunday may be a little early for thinking about Thanksgiving but it is never too early to think about gratitude.  The lectionary reading for the Gospel is Luke17:11-19 which contains the story of Jesus healing ten lepers.  Only one returns to give thanks and that one is a Samaritan! 

I often hear that people vehemently oppose (in others) the sense of entitlement that we sometimes develop.  Nobody likes it when someone assumes too much.  No one thinks highly of the person that doesn’t acknowledge the help they received in hard-fought success.  So how do we keep this from creeping up in our own lives?
On Sunday, I will be preaching a sermon entitled, “Connecting our Orientations” as I continue the series, “Connecting MORE people with God and Neighbor”.  I will seek to show that when we orient ourselves in gratitude, life and spirituality become more fruitful.  If you are unable to join us, I hope that you will think about those who have shaped you for the better in your life and give thanks to God for their influence.

In Christ,


Photo used under Creative Commons via Flickr.com.  

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