This seems like the ideal time to start writing a bit about our church celebrations throughout the year. Taking a page from our Roman Catholic brethren, we attempted to create something of a liturgical calendar. Many years ago we saw the need for Christians to create traditions more aligned with faith and practice. Consequently, we developed Celebration of the Faithful, Celebration of Life Together, Turn and Become Like Children, Celebration of the Children, and Celebration of Grace and Thanksgiving.
I will address this last item first as we are in the midst of it right now. Giving thanks is a necessary component of the Christian faith. Scripture abounds with references to thanks and thanksgiving. Many of King David’s Psalms are songs of thanksgiving, for example: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all thy wonderful deeds.” (Ps 9:1) To choose but one of the many New Testament examples, Romans 7:25 says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Accordingly, we set aside this week to focus on gratitude in speech, prayer, and action. We began with a Gathered Worship emphasizing words of thanks. Sunday morning found us gathered with one of our sister congregations where we were treated to some wonderful singing, sax playing, and reflections upon God’s “Amazing Grace.” How sweet the sound indeed.
Wednesday night we will be together preparing for our feast. Working together is another form of worship, one which we hope He will find acceptable.Thursday about 50 of us will gather for our glorious repast at the church building where we will turn our attention on our honored guests: shut-ins, nursing home residents, the lonely and the hungry. We share stories, food for the soul, and, of course, lots of food for our bodies!
Friday will find us re-enjoying our banquet, gathering to give thanks, and then joining in on our traditional dance of the leftovers. This year we will be decked out in 80’s regalia as we dance the night away. Then some of us will head over to the bowling alley for midnight bowling. Whew! We hope that this whirlwind helps to put us in the thankful frame of mind that God wants to see in His children.
G.K. Chesterton reminds us: …” that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” More on other celebrations later, but for now and always may we be abounding in thanksgiving!