Check out Pastor’s December Message
December Issue of The Voice Now Available
by Sonja G
Check out the December issue of The Voice here. Pastor’s Message:
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
“A grateful mind is a great mind,” said an old English preacher. Since there are over 130 passages of scripture on the subject of thanksgiving, I think the Bible would probably agree. The first letter to the Thessalonian church says it pretty powerfully, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18)
I write this as the day of Thanksgiving in our country is days away. At the same time we are a little over a week past a pretty contentious presidential election, a few weeks past the tragic shooting of two Des Moines metro police officers, one of the worst refugee crises our world has seen continues, and the list of woes in one’s own life could be added. It’s probably safe to say everyone is thankful for the campaigning to be over, but we also know that all is still not right in the world. How is one to give thanks in times such as this?
Reminds me of one of the great hymns of thanksgiving, “Now Thank We all Our God.” The hymn was written by Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran pastor, in 1636 during the Thirty Years’ War. The little walled city he lived in had refugees pouring through the gates. Inside the gates people were struck with the plague, famine and fear, as armies surrounded the little walled city. Rinkart conducted as many as 50 funerals some days, as he was the last pastor still alive. It was Martin Rinkart who left the safety of the city walls to negotiate an end to the hostilities. Following this he wrote the hymn that is still sung throughout the world. “Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices,” is the first line of the hymn.
I believe it is the power of the Gospel, the love of God in Christ Jesus, which moves us to give thanks “in everything.” Tragedies and challenges swirl around us, but we know that God is still with us. We have the blessing of God’s love and presence, which allows us to see other blessings to which we can be thankful. Life, health, family, work, shelter, friends, transportation, food, clothing, and a church community are all part of a long list of things for which we can be thankful.
St. Peter Lutheran Church, I give thanks to you. Thanks for being an inviting and welcoming place for all people, especially the little ones, since I have 3 of my own scurrying around here. (I mention the little ones, but really St. Peter is a multigenerational congregation of which to be thankful.) Thanks for being a place where people can learn, grow and live out their faith through service. Thanks for encouraging one another in developing gifts for proclaiming the Gospel and living out their faith by lovingly serving the neighbor. Thank you for the joyful worship we enjoy together through the good times and the bad. Thank you for your generous giving of time, talents and finances to ensure the Good News continues to be shared in and through the people of St. Peter Lutheran.
St. Peter Lutheran Church is a people not just a place. So I give thanks for all of you, the members and friends reading this VOICE newsletter. Most of all I give thanks for Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, as we enter the Advent season remembering this greatest gift of all.
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” How might you share and live out that thankfulness in your life today?