Welcomed at the Table

As I begin the week of this Thanksgiving holiday, I am filled with positive childhood memories of great family time, while also being stirred about what this holiday can mean to others different than me and those who do not feel included, valued, or seen with these celebrations.Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as I am filled with memories as a child, growing up driving down to my Grandma Hartman’s farm down in Southern Illinois. The day car trip was well worth the 4…

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Think About Such Things

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—thing about such things.(Philippians 4:6-8, NIV)One morning, as I prayed for members of my family, I realized how much anxiety…

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Thanks to God For My Redeemer

I can remember as a young pastor thumbing through my grandmother Emilie Bee’s old church hymnal while serving a small congregation in Grafton, Illinois. I remember the congregation well because we had to cross the Mississippi into Illinois by way of a barge/ferry. As I perused her hymnal, I came across a piece of music that has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving poems. I like it, first, because it is so simple, and second, because it is so specific. It doesn’t simply…

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Turkey With a Side of Compassion

For many of us, Thanksgiving is going to look different this year. I’ve heard the heartache of many who are mourning the loss of another expectation going unmet in 2020. In many ways, the holiday seems like it will embody all of the frustration, disappointment and isolation that have defined this year for so many. I want to start by saying that it’s okay to be sad. It’s healthy to mourn. There are plenty of Psalms of lament that witness to the fact…

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Shared Stories

“When (Jesus) looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.’”Luke 21:1-4A couple of Sundays ago, we had a wonderful Stewardship sermon from Pastor Gretchen. (When I was Catholic we always…

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A Thanksgiving Hymn for 2020

(Written ca 1637) “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Jeremiah 33:11In less than two weeks we will be celebrating a Thanksgiving, as we say, like no other that most of us have celebrated in our lifetimes. In these days the cases of Covid-19 seem to be rising relentlessly as hospitalization increase and families continue to lose precious loved ones. We are being greatly encouraged not to gather in large family gatherings…

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Rain or Shine

It’s November—the warmth of mid-fall weather is gone—replaced by cooler, almost winter-like weather. Gray clouds cover up blue skies and the last of the yellow, golden, and red leaves fall as it rains, leaving the tree branches bare. It’s sort of a depressing time of the year, don’t you think? We can sort of look forward to later in the month when Thanksgiving Day will come. The seasonal changes remind me of the changing rhythms of life—often warm and bright and then at…

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