Worship at Gloria Dei Saturdays 5:00pm, Sundays 9:00am and 10:30am

Happy Thanksgiving… But Wait, It’s Ma

Hello Gloria Dei,

Five years ago this summer, I was in the Sacramento airport, having had a nice visit with my sisters, and I was waiting for my flight to come back to Sioux Falls. There was this little boy who was with his parents waiting to get on the plane. He was what you might call, a pistol.

Soon, this young boy became the focus of all of us in the waiting area. He was just a normal three-year-old, climbing everywhere, running, asking a dozen questions, wanting drinks and trips to the bathroom, and in general, just plain exhausting his very patient parents, who also had a baby girl to take care of. We were all amused by this young man, and I was remembering when my kids were that age.

Finally, the attendant at the desk pulled a little toy airplane from behind the counter and gave it to this boy as a gift. His mother hovered over him, instructing, “Say thank you to the nice lady. Say thank you to the nice lady.”

The little boy hesitated for a minute, then looked up with his big brown eyes. It was kind of high drama. We all wanted to see if he would say thanks.

So, he played it up, knowing we were all watching. He looked at the lady, then at his mother, then at all of us, and finally at the toy airplane. And he broke out with a big smile, he hugged the flight attendant and said very sincerely, “Thank You.”

I can still picture the smile on his face when he said, “Thank You”. It was a reminder to me that life is much better when we can pause and say thank you – living always with a sense of gratitude.

For the next two weekends in worship we will be focusing on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Within this letter Paul is overflowing with gratitude and thanksgiving. And the ironic thing about all of this is, that while he writes this letter, Paul is sitting in prison.

Paul’s letter is a letter filled with joy. His joy and gratitude, however, is not dependent on his outer circumstances.

For this weekend read Philippians 1:1-18. Combine it with the reading of Philippians 4:4-9. I will be preaching on this topic of joy and gratitude, rising out of Paul and his letter.

I will say more this weekend. But for now, I want you to think about your life. Give thanks for all the good gifts that come to you from God. Give thanks for the gifts of family, friendships, and community. Paul’s thankfulness was in part due to his being part of the loving community of faith at Philippi.

Yet, also think of life’s challenges and difficult circumstances. Can you find joy and gratitude even amidst your suffering? If so, where does that joy come from? Let’s take a cue from Paul, who is joyful and thankful even while being unfairly imprisoned. Maybe we, too, can discover where and how we can have joy and thankfulness in all circumstances.

See you in worship,

Pastor Tim
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