Nov 26th, Faith Notes – Thanksgiving, not just one day of the year.
Rev. Dr. Steven Koski
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I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. This is a message to remind us that Thanksgiving is not something to be reserved for just one day of the year.
Gratitude is a spiritual practice at the heart of our faith.
Abraham Heschel said the goal of the spiritual life is to live in radical amazement taking nothing for granted. Spiritual maturity is to be amazed at the gift and miracle of life itself. It is to be amazed at the gift of every heartbeat and every breath.
What do you take for granted? What are the ordinary, often overlooked, taken for granted, simple gifts present in your life every single day?
A student asked a spiritual teacher, “What is the harshest circumstance and greatest difficulty a person can experience on earth?” The teacher said, “The worst condition of life is to be ungrateful. If you suffer from ingratitude and entitlement, then it won’t matter what blessings and goodness are in your life because you won’t be open to see them or receive them.”
Grace is the undeserved gift of life…the gift of every breath…the gift of God’s unconditional love from which we can never be separated. Joy and peace arrive when we are aware of the gift of Grace.
Gratitude is the spiritual practice that opens our eyes and hearts to that awareness.
The Psalmist in Psalm 100 said, “Enter God’s presence with thanksgiving.” What if that wasn’t a command but an invitation? What if it isn’t you better be thankful or else? What if, instead, this is saying that the way to be awake to the presence of Amazing Grace that is ALWAYS present to us is through gratitude. Maybe that’s why Meister Eckhart said the only prayer we ever need is two words – THANK YOU. May we continue to practice gratitude in the days ahead.
I am always so grateful and inspired by this community of faith, but never more so than over the last 18 months. During a time of navigating your own personal fears and challenges, you have so generously supported, cared for and encouraged the staff of the church. Thank you. You have cared for one another and your generosity made it possible to care for others in important ways. Thank you!
I am so grateful and humbled to share ministry with an amazing, creative and compassionate team. In the midst of the challenges this past year has brought to their own lives, the staff never wavered in their commitment serving you and others. Please take a moment to thank them if you get a chance.
I am beyond grateful that after what has felt like an eternity, we will gather for in-person worship THIS Sunday, November 28 at 9am and 10:30am ( two identical services ). I am beyond excited to greet those who will be able to attend.
I am so very grateful that your generosity makes it possible for us to continue our on-line worship and televised worship. I know there are many who are not ready to return to in-person worship for very valid reasons. I am so thankful we can continue to worship together on-line or through the televised service. Our worshipping community has also expanded over the last 18 months of on-line
worship gathering many across the world. I am grateful this technology has grown our community and I look forward to finding ways to strengthen these connections.
We enter the Season of Advent this Sunday. Our Advent theme is : Making Room.
This Sunday we will light the first candle of Advent making room for HOPE. I may not be very optimistic these days as the forces of despair threaten to drag us down, but I am so very hopeful. My hope is grounded in the love of God that refuses to be defeated and never gives up on us and in this community of faith – YOU – that never gives up on bringing God’s love where it is needed.
May our lives be a living prayer of gratitude,