For years, I have reminded us all about the importance of cultivating the sense of gratitude and thanksgiving, and I have challenged us all to engage in several activities to help generate a sense of thanksgiving. In part that’s because of the Canon of the Eucharist, or the Mass that reminds us that it is good always and everywhere to give thanks to God for all his blessings. To me, “always and everywhere” means under all circumstances.
Maybe that sense of thanksgiving stems from an article I read many years ago in the Readers’ Digest. It was a story of a Chinese priest, held in captivity in a concentration camp during the “cultural revolution” –the communist regime of Chairman Mao. It was a story about how this priest had collected up some fragments of bread, and I don’t recall if there were any wine. Scrambling into a windswept and weedy ditch where he would be briefly unobserved, he took the elements and began to celebrate the Mass. Wow! On the risk of being shot, being mistaken for attempting to escape, on the risk of additional punishment for his act of “cultural impurity,” he stood in the ditch celebrating the Mass from memory, observed only by one other person, a fellow prisoner who was well aware of the danger. It was Christmas. Now that is “always and everywhere” giving thanks to God the Father Almighty.
We have this season many things about which to be grateful. Our successful antique show netted approximately $3500 for the parish—which was above the last several years. The UTO Sunday ingathering netted over $400 in funds for UTO. We are in the midst of the Every Member Canvass and planning for the budget for next year. As November 14, we had received a return of 52 pledge cards. We have 5 new pledging units. 46% of those who had pledged before had made an increase over last year. I received a generous donation from the Thrift Shop in the amount of $500 for Thanksgiving and Christmas Donations, and I have managed to spend most of it already on families in dire need. We’ve collected, and I have distributed 5 Thanksgiving boxes of food. On this coming Sunday, the feast of Christ the King, it will be my joy to baptize Wiley Sargent. Again, a reason for thanksgiving. And, I want to take a moment to thank the Vestry of Saint Paul’s for all that they do in the leadership of this parish. I am so blessed, and we are so blessed to have such a group of people helping with the administration and ministry of Saint Paul’s.
God is graciously blessing us to do his work in a variety of ways, and I want to acknowledge that it is not only individuals that can have gratitude lists—our parish has one too. Thanks be to God for all that you do, and Thanks be to God for his manifold blessings.
So, may your hearts be filled with thanksgiving in all times and in all places,