With a Warm, Thankful Heart
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ,
On a cold winter's night, it could not have been warmer. Last night, around fifty people gathered for St. James' first Thanksgiving Bonfire Worship. In a large circle around a raging fire we sang songs of faith, heard God's Word, prayed, and named things for which we are thankful. It was a special night in which our community was once again strengthened through worship. The bonfire was certainly hot but what warmed my heart were the faces that glowed in the fire's light.
Thinking about the faces that I saw last night, and the countless faces that I encounter on a regular basis in the course of mission in and through St. James, I am reminded of St. Paul's words; I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1:1-3).
There is much for which to give thanks. God's Spirit has been alive in our community of faith and struggle to bring about healing, hospitality, and renewed joy. Even as our community has changed God's love has been constant. The Spirit has brought into midst new faces and new opportunities to respond to God's grace.
I am personally thankful for the opportunity to be your pastor. To break bread with you at a variety of tables has been a privilege. Although the journey hasn't been without its bumps along the way, God remains faithful to us and has opened our hearts in exciting new ways. I am deeply grateful for our leadership teams, Council, Executive Mission Team, Mission Stewards, Staff, and the countless people who share their time, talents, and treasure at St. James. Thank you all.
Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family. As you reflect on your many blessings, may you be reminded to give thanks to God, whence all good things flow.
The word "Eucharist" means 'thanksgiving'. A central part of our worship, I look forward to sharing Eucharist/Thanksgiving with you this weekend. See you in worship.