Giving Thanks for My Peeps

NaBloPoMo Day 24 – not following the prompt today, but posting some thoughts on giving thanks for and with my community of faith. This is a little note I sent my congregation (at least, the ones on email) today. 

The apostle Paul starts many of his letters with greetings that include a note of thanks… not only for hospitality or for the support of the people and churches he is writing, but also for his memory and experience of them.

It’s a difficult thing to describe, but I think we’ve all felt it. We give thanks at the thought of others because when we begin a relationship, people become a part of who we are and how we experience life. This is even more pronounced when that relationship is built on the foundation of our shared experience of Christ.
I was thinking today about how my family’s Thanksgiving table will be much smaller than in past years, only the four of us. No friends, no extended family. Just me, Mom, my sister A and the hubby. And yet, when I think about how many more people I carry in my heart this year than last, my table grows exponentially.
And like Paul the letter-writer, I can honestly say that I give thanks each time I think of you.
I give thanks for the laughter we have shared as we continue to learn not to take ourselves so very seriously.  I give thanks for the tears we have shared as we said goodbye to dear ones whom we will miss at our holiday celebrations. I give thanks for the prayers and the exhortations, for the celebrations and hard conversations that have happened in the year during which I have been in your midst. And I am deeply, deeply grateful for the grace extended in all of it.
Here is my exhortation to you today – You are loved by a God who cannot help but pour out goodness and mercy in abundance. Be still this week and rest in that truth. Then let your heart sing and shout a prayer of thanks!
I hope to do just that with many of you tomorrow evening – bring a lawn chair and join us in the pavilion out back. If you’ve got a spare chair bring it along to share. If the weather gets bad, we’ll meet inside. Regardless, we’ll start at 5:30 and will finish before 6:30, so you can get home and bake or baste or watch a ballgame.
Much love and many blessings,
Pastor Laura
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