Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column

November 2014: "Giving More Than Thanks"

Dear Church,

Turkey Day is around the corner, which means mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie out the wazoo, along with the aforementioned turkey (except for the one that gets pardoned every year by the White House for, I don't know, being a turkey. Does being a delicious piece of poultry somehow violate the US Code? But I digress).

And we call this day of smorgasbord eating, football watching and holiday season preparing Thanksgiving. Because we are supposed to have things in our lives, every year, that we ought to give thanks for. And that's a good thing. It never will not be a good thing.

But it also isn't enough.

I'll repeat that: giving thanks is not enough.

What if we had a holiday named Lovegiving, or Compassiongiving? I know those perhaps sound cheesy when you say them aloud, but love and compassion are just as basic components of goodness as thanks is. What if we dedicated a day solely to each of those virtues? Might the world look any different than it does today?

You might feel like those questions are a bit above your pay grade (mine as well!), but they're fundamental questions for any Christian. How does the giving of love and compassion change the world around us? How does it help usher in the kingdom of God here on earth? And how can we best equip ourselves and others to be as giving of love as Jesus Himself was?

So this Thanksgiving, I would gently exhort you to spare a thought between bites of turkey for what else you might have left to give as well: to your family, your neighbor down the block, your friend across town, your church, and, ultimately, your God--the God of the Bible and the sender of Jesus Christ.

But then, don't forget that thought. Keep that thought rolling around in your heart and your soul so that you might be prepared to act one day upon it, so that the giving might continue beyond just this singular day of Thanksgiving.

In this manner, I pray, your feelings of thanks on this holiday might turn into something a little less fleeting than a mere moment in time, and into something a little bit bigger for the body of Christ we are continually working to strengthen together here in the First Christian Church family of faith.

I wish you and yours a blessed and safe Thanksgiving, and I look forward to being able to share in and celebrate the coming holiday season with all of you!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

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