Friday, September 28, 2012

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

Dear Beloved Child of God:

On my way to work one morning, on a day in New York some years ago, I took a slightly different route, and decided to stop at a street vendor for something to eat. As I approached the pushcart I saw two Middle Eastern looking men beside it, one tending the wagon. The other man was singing, and dancing. He was singing, in Arabic, Thanks be to God! Thanks be to God! as he danced in joyous circles on the sidewalk pavement. Sorry, he said, got carried away. No need to apologize, my friend: Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, rejoice! There is never a wrong time to praise God or thank God. Indeed, give thanks in all things, on all days, with a grateful heart. That is our theme this harvest season: give thanks with a grateful heart.

The stewardship committee has asked me to extend to you their invitation, on behalf of the parish, to give thankfully of what God has given you. What we receive we receive from God; all we have and all we are. We as God’s people have the right and the gift of making an offering of thanks. What we hope to do through our financial contributions to the ministries of the church is to enable it to carry on in its mission – which is the mission of Christ in this place, among these people we discover to be our neighbors.

Who is my neighbor? Near or far, humble or proud, strange or strangely familiar, my neighbor is a person like myself in one, chief, important thing: my neighbor is made in the image of God; my neighbor is one whom Jesus loves. Our mission is to bring that love into the world.

Together as we pursue our common mission let us put on Christ – and receive, and give, with joy and grateful hearts, in thanksgiving.

Faithfully yours,

Father John

The Rev. John Leech
Priest and Rector

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

Look back with gratitude,
Look forward with anticipation,
In all things give thanks.
—Christine Sine

October 2012

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