Minister's Thanksgiving Message

Radical Gratitude of Thanksgiving, 2018

Last week the words “radical hospitality” were written in the newsletter expressing the way that Jesus welcomed all who came to him with unconditional love. I experienced such hospitality last Sunday on the ‘official’ welcome Sunday at Emmanuel. I have lived in such generosity at SouthWest for some 19 years now.

I am pondering the idea of a gratitude that is radical. Paul writes:

“This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Jesus Christ. Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances.” (1Thessalonians 5: 16-17).

As a follower of Jesus I am invited to a life of joy, prayer and thanksgiving, no matter the circumstances. I have at times found this difficult to live, especially in times of loss. Last year I struggled to live it after the death of my younger brother, for grief was so sharply smothering thanksgiving. As circumstances of life change and evolve I am challenged to live a relationship with God in Christ where I am rooted in prayer. That daily prayer brings a joy that does not depend on the emotions of the moment but rather on the certitude that God will provide for all needs, every day, no matter what is happening around us.

Gratitude is present in such faith and practice! It flows from prayer and joy. It speaks a gentle Alleluia no matter the highs and lows. 

As I experience the changing of the seasons and the abundance of the harvest, I pause to express thanksgiving to Creator for life, love, food, friends, and our communities of faith.

I enjoy the words of Henry Alford who penned the following invitation in 1844:

Come, you thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
safe before the storms begin;

God, our maker, does provide
for our needs to be supplied:
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home! (VU 516)

Let our gratitude be radical, in all situations and circumstances, a constant song of thanks!

Alléluia! Amen!

Rev. David