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November Pastor's Pen

We have entered into the holiday season. Halloween is past, Thanksgiving is around the corner, and the stores are full of the reds and greens of Christmas. This is the time of year when we tend to think about what has happened in the past year, what has happened in previous holiday seasons. As the holiday reminds us, it is a time for thanks giving.
We just celebrated and remembered the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. With so much emphasis on Martin Luther over the last month, my mind has found itself wandering to my time in the Lutheran Church in my youth and young adult years. When I was confirmed, at Central Lutheran Church, one of the requirements was to have Luther's Small Catechism memorized. I don't have it memorized at this point, but its words still influence me greatly.
In his discussion of the Lord's Prayer, Luther speaks about the good things that God gives us in our “daily bread”. In this season of giving thanks, that list could also be a list of what we are to give thanks for. Luther lists food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.
There are things he listed that speak to me, and others that seem less pertinent. Do I really have the discipline or health that I want? Do I always consider my children, spouse, friends or neighbors to be “good” much less pious (whatever I might imagine that means)? Some days, maybe especially in the political environment of division and infighting, it might seem like hard to give thanks for government systems. Yet we are called not only to give thanks for them, but also on behalf of them.
Giving thanks for someone, whether we personally find them to be a blessing or burden, forces us into a position of humility, and requires us to remember that those people, too, are children of God, made in the image of God. The people sitting in the halls of government, and the people gathered around your Thanksgiving table. Even if they make us crazy. Even if they don’t think like we do. Even if they won’t pass the gravy quickly enough. They are, each and every one of them, someone for whom Christ lived and died. For whom Christ was raised. The good news of Jesus the Christ is for each and every one of them.
Thanks be to God!


Pastor's Pen November

Thanks Giving,,,,,,
We use that phrase a lot and have even created a word where the two words becomeone: ‘Thanksgiving’ and we call it a holiday. Then we shop for all of our favorite foods and most of the time we eat what our parents and grandparents ate and we call it a tradition.  We even say things like, “ It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkey!”  or whatever your family’s favorite food is. We place the holiday in an historical frame and we recall Pilgrims and Indians sharing a great feast together.
Thanksgiving is the great harvest feast  - when we are encouraged to remember that EVERYTHING  - EVERYTHING is a total gift from God.  The food we prepare comes forth from Earth, Sky and Waters.
Thanksgiving is a time to recommit ourselves to the preservation of the phenomenal resources that we have been given to sustain our life on planet Earth. If we who live here and depend on Earth, Sky and Sea for our sustenance continue to destroy and live as if we are separate from these powerful sustaining resources – the day is coming, sooner than we think that Thanksgiving will be a memory of what we once had and wasted, destroyed andlong for.
So on this Thanksgiving Day – take amoment to pray this prayer with your loved ones – for that which we need to cherishand care for above all else: EARTH, SKY, SEA.
O Great Spirit,
Earth, Sun, Sky and Sea
You are inside and all around me.
Creator God, fill each of us with a longing for all that you have made to sustain our human existence. 
Bring us the wisdom and the courage to make the changes in our lives that will allow our planet home to thrive and continue to sustain those who come after us.
Jesus you modeled deep love and caring for creation. 
You went to the mountains to meet your Ancestors.
You floated on the Sea and caught fish and cooked them to open the eyes of your apostles.
You calmed the storms to teach us the power of your protective love.
You showed us how much your Father and ours loved the lilies of the field and the birds of the air
….and how much your Father loved us in sending you to guide us on our journey of life.
Thanks for Giving us this opportunity that we call life.
Thanks for Giving us all that we need and all that we can share to fill the needs of others.
Thanks and Thanks again,
Loving you,
Pastor Carol