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I know… it’s bad enough that it is barely October and the stores are already making for Halloween. And now I have got thanksgiving in my THoughts! But I am not talking about the holiday, just the gerund: the act of giving thanks.
This past weekend my congregation, Celebration, honored my 25th Anniversary of Ordination with a special worship and cards of congratulations from all sorts of people and a guest preacher… it was so very lovely.
There were some pictures from my ordination day, where I looked like some sort of teenager! But, more importantly in these pictures were some important people in my life: my home pastor, Dan Oravec (gone to the church triumphant); the woman who got me into this mess by showing me that women can be pastors, Beth Neubauer (entered the pastor retirement club); my classmates who still remain a part of the cloud of witnesses who surround me.
Of course, my family was present at the worship: Paul, Anna, Gabriella, Amelia and Sofia as well as my mom and my mother-in-law. These are the people who love me at my best and at my worst.
I know that my dad and my father-in-law would have been proud to be there as well. I couldn’t help but think about my grandparents and so many aunts and uncles who championed me from afar and now rest from their labors.
And now, I am mindful of the many pastors and bishops who are praying for me on a regular basis these days, the Lutheran kind and my ecumenical colleagues especially in Chardon. I think of all the staff I have gotten to work with over the years: Diana and Heidi; Gail and Bill; Donna, Glenn, and Olivia. And, of course, the members of Celebration who have loved me, ministered with me and prayer for me for 19 years.
I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.Psalm 35:18
And I am thankful.
One of my students reminded me in his sermon last week about how children react when they are thankful. He wrote this: “You know that moment when you tell a small child that they can go to their best friend’s house for a sleepover? How their eyes light up, they jump a little bit, and let out a string of ‘thank yous’? …when they offer so much thanksgiving that saying more than two words seems difficult…”
thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you…
And a special word of thanks to God for calling me to this incredible ministry!