Post date: Oct 31, 2011 6:41:7 PM

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The month of November concludes one church year and begins another. The First Sunday in Advent (and the new church year) arrives on November 27th. Most of our gospel readings this year are from Matthew and most of our gospel readings in the new year will be from Mark, with some Gospel of John mixed in every year. We begin the month with All Saint’s Sunday on November 6th. We remember with thanksgiving those who have lived and died in the faith. The reformer, Martin Luther, would also remind us that all Christians are at the same time saints and sinners. We are all sinners, dependent entirely on the saving grace of Jesus Christ and not on our own merits. At the same time we are saints who seek to live lives of faith and commitment. We give thanks for the saints, the mentors, in our lives who have inspired us in the faith. And we strive to be friends and mentors in the faith for others. Christ the King Sunday on November 20th is the last Sunday of this church year. Before society goes nuts with commercializing Christmas again, we pause to worship and give thanks to the one true King and Savior, Jesus Christ.

On Thursday, November 24th, we pause as a nation to offer thanks to God for the freedoms we enjoy in our country. Even, perhaps especially, in the midst of an economic recession, we thank God for food and clothing, home and family, and all we need from day to day. Poorer folks are always hit hardest by economic recessions. The number of people visiting our FISH food bank continues to rise. Thank you to everyone who contributes food and money to our local food bank. It’s much needed and much appreciated. As we gather with our families and friends on Thanksgiving Day, let us remember poor and hungry people and share the basic necessities of life with them.

For Christians, every day is really a thanksgiving day to God. Not only does God give us all the basic necessities of life. God also gives us his own Son Jesus, crucified and risen to grant us the forgiveness of all our sins, new life every day, and everlasting life in the full kingdom of God. Furthermore, God gives us the Holy Spirit to sustain us, lead us and empower us. Thanksgiving leads to “thanks-living.”

During the last half of September and the first part of October, our second readings have come from Philippians. I know it’s hard not to worry in the middle of a national, even global, financial crisis. But the Apostle Paul has sage advice for us in his Letter to the Philippians. “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6. Paul writes this from a Roman jail cell with an uncertain future ahead of him. Yet he is able to take everything to God in prayer with thanksgiving, rather than worrying about things over which he has no control. Paul is a great example for us.

Serving Jesus together with you,

Dennis Hickman, pastor