I believe that gratitude is one of the cornerstones of the Christian life. At times this has seemed too ordinary of a practice to sustain such a complex relationship as our relationship to God and one another. Over the years though, I have seen this reality at work. Gratitude opening our hearts to mystery, awe, and to wonder. Gratitude softening the hardened heart, clearing the weary mind, and posturing us towards joy. Gratitude reconciling, connecting, restoring, and re-describing. Gratitude healing our sin-sick souls.
So since we have experienced grace in ways too deep for words, it is fitting that we observe a day of giving thanks. It is also fitting that we do so by gathering around food, family, and fellowship. For it is in gathering and the hearing of stories that we are reminded of the ways that we have been blessed.
Together, as the people called Grace Community, we have many reasons to give thanks. We have been blessed with a community of love and acceptance, no matter our stories or our histories. We have the freedom to worship and serve in the way that God calls us. We have a building that is a home base for our lives with God, a visible reminder that we are a people who gather to worship the Eternal One; but also a space that hosts bible studies, recovery groups, scouts, prayer groups, and so many other gatherings. We also have a blessed future as we continue to be a called people so that others can experience the grace that we have experienced.
Personally, I am thankful for you. Pastoral life is a life shaped by God through the body of Christ. In leading, I am formed into Christlikeness through your sharing of life: through the joys, through the struggles, and through the ways, you are seeing God at work. You make me a better follower of Jesus and for that I am thankful.
In the midst of brokenness, strife, and grief- I invite you to give thanks.
In the midst of bounty, space, and love- I invite you to give thanks.
In the midst of chaos, weariness, and mess- I invite you to give thanks.?In the midst of celebration, remembering, and gathering- I invite you to give thanks.
As you do, pay attention,
for the holy comes visiting,
emerging among you,
in bouts of gladness, generosity, and grace.
Peace & Love, Juan Carlos+
P.S. Make sure you join us this weekend as we wrap up our sermon series Made for This: A Life of Worship.