Friday Followings: Flag Day, My Sister’s Birthday, and Saying Thanks

Hello Gloria Dei,
 
Growing up, I’ve always associated Flag Day with my sister Lois’ birthday. They both fall on this day, June 14.
 
Way back on June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white” and that “the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Then in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary of that decree by officially setting June 14 as Flag Day.
 
My sister’s history doesn’t go back quite as far. I won’t tell you how old my younger sister Lois is, as she might not appreciate that. But I will tell you that she was born exactly forty eight years after President Wilson’s official act. So, as they say, you do the math. I’m about three years older than her, so again, you do the math.
 
I suppose in a subtle or not so subtle way, this connection between Flag Day and my sister’s birthday has always allowed me to be thankful to God for the gifts of country and family. Maybe at times I take both for granted. Maybe you do too. And while I realize that our country is far from perfect, and that families are far from perfect too, I do know that we are all blessed by the democracy and freedoms found within the United States, and we are blessed to be part of families and communities and church families. Family, after all, was God’s idea.
 
I ask that you let this day be a reminder to you of the many and varied gifts God provides. Anyone remember from confirmation days Martin Luther’s explanation to the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed? Luther says this: I believe that God has created me and all that exists. He has given me and still preserves my body and soul with all their powers. He provides me with food and clothing, home and family, daily work, and all I need from day to day. God also protects me in time of danger and guards me from every evil. All this he does out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I surely ought to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.
 
By the way, I’ve got a piece of chocolate in my office for anyone who can recite this to me from memory. But Luther is right. When we stop and think of our lives and the everyday gifts that come from God, we certainly are to live our lives with the overriding theme of thanks and praise. What are you thankful for? I’m thankful for this world, and for the country I live in.
 
I’m thankful for my sister Lois who celebrates her birthday today. I’m thankful for both my family of origin (thinking of Mom and Dad and siblings on this Father’s Day weekend). I’m thankful for my wife and my two kids. I’m thankful for Gloria Dei and the wonderful family of faith that it is. I’m thankful for so many blessings from God. So are you. As we begin summer, stop and give thanks on a very regular basis. God is good! All the time! All the time! God is good!
 
This weekend in worship we continue our series on the book of Acts called “Spirit Filled Living.” Please read Acts 8:26-40.
 
See you in worship!
 
Pastor Tim