November has one major holiday that is the harbinger of others yet to come. THANKSGIVING. This year it is on November 23. This is the day we remember the pilgrims giving thanks for the bounty shared by the Native-Americans as the Pilgrims neared starvation that cold winter some four hundred years ago.
However, the attitude of thanksgiving is at the heart of our Christian faith. We are to give thanks to the Lord for all things. What are we thankful for in our lives? Do we respond by doing good for others because the Lord is good to us? Does my life show forth gratefulness by word and action?
On the return journey from Israel and Jordan, whiling away some of the hours on the plane, I was giving thanks to God for the safe pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Each person on the trip came to mind as I sat before the Lord and thanked God for his or her presence on the trip and for what they beheld and allowed grace to flow in their hearts during the pilgrimage.
Each day as I sit in Morning Prayer, I lift up to the Lord the members of our Vestry and offer thanks for their time and ministry in leadership to the parish. I pray for their families and that the Lord will touch them, in whatever way they need that day. During prayer time I ask God’s blessings on each of you and your families and thank Jesus for your generosity to the ministry that takes place at St. Luke’s every day.
Because of your kindness in giving a pledge each year, we are able to underwrite the Lord’s work. What is a pledge some people ask? A pledge is a statement of your gratefulness to God for the blessings in your life. Those blessings are your faith, your family, your employment, your home, the good things that happen when you least expect it. In gratitude you agree to give back to the Lord from the abundance of what Divine Grace gives you each day.
Your pledge is a fulfillment of these scriptures: From the Prophet Malachi: Ever since the days of your ancestors you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In your tithes and offerings! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. (3: 7-10). The Lord tells us he will bless 100 fold of what we give.
Our pledge is a claim on God’s promise for continued blessing when we give to help the ministry flourish that God places in our hands. This is a promised reiterated in Proverbs 3: 9-10: Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. And finally in the Acts of the Apostles: 20: 35: In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” ’
Let us pray: “…We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord…. Amen.” (BCP p. 101 –The General Thanksgiving Prayer).
In Christ the Savior,