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November 2019

A Thankful Prayer
As we move into Thanksgiving season, I invite all of us to live with this truth: "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough." Meister Eckhart

What's to stop us from praying all the time? Why not say "thank you" throughout the day? This prayer of saying "thank you" does not mean we ignore the needs, the pain, the suffering in our world. It does mean that we increase our awareness that God is at work, during all we encounter.

I remember being in school this year and feeling so fatigued and overwhelmed. I needed to read several books, write papers, focus on my weekly duties as a Pastor, and focus on my family. I remembered I was in tears more than I was being thankful in this journey. I remember praying to God saying, “you called me, and look at me; I am a total mess.” I thought it was impossible to get everything done. By the grace of God, amid my feelings, I realized I had much for which to be grateful. I had a car that was running well, and I had reliable transportation between school, work, and home. I had many clergy friends who were willing to help me. I was thankful for my family who supported me and encouraged me in every way. I was thankful for being at a church that is supportive, that would give me encouraging words, and prayed for me.

As I look at scripture for thankfulness, I look at Mary. Mary embodies this spirit, when she sings in thanksgiving for her blessings in the midst of dealing with all the fallout of her pregnancy with Jesus--a fiancé who isn't sure if he can trust her and stay with her, as well as a community judging her harshly as an unwed teenage mother in a time when that was considered unacceptable. All that is true, and yet she sings: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on, all generations will call me blessed." (Luke 1:46-48). Her spirit rejoices, and she boldly claims herself as blessed during it all because she trusts that God is with her and doing something amazing.

How can we cultivate this practice of gratitude not through comparisons but through the awareness of God with us this Thanksgiving season? As you reflect over the year or perhaps over your life, where have you seen and noticed God's presence with you? May we sing with Mary this Thanksgiving season, aware and grateful for the ways God is present and at work in our lives.

Scripture for November 2019

11-03-2019 How to Cultivate Patience James 5: 7-12
11-10-2019 How to Know the Power of Prayer James 5: 13-18
11-17-2019 How to Restore the Straying Believer James 5: 19-20
11-24-2019 Better Bread John 6: 25-35

In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Debbie Senters