“Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus.” -I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Paul here is teaching the young believers in Thessalonica about the life of faith following Jesus. I think it is important to notice that Paul writes, “give thanks IN all circumstances.” We don’t have to give thanks FOR everything, but we need to learn how to give thanks IN everything. I looked up my grandpa’s notes on this verse. He writes, “Joy dies when communion with God ceases and complaining replaces thankfulness.” We have a lot to complain about these days! But that complaining will only rob us of our joy. When we find ourselves complaining we would do well to notice it and name the things we are not happy about. But then to keep with that thread and look for things we can be thankful for IN the difficult circumstances. May you find joy in your thanksgiving this week, even amidst all the difficulty of these days.
Dear Family of Faith,
I have been procrastinating writing to you all this week. I haven’t known what to say. As the week progressed, the phrase “common ground” kept popping up for me in several contexts. One thing is clear and that is our country is painfully divided. No matter who wins this election, we all need to seek to find our way to kindness, respect, and harmony. We can’t depend on our elected leaders to get us there. That is work we each must do. And I would contend that living in the way of Jesus will get us to a place of peace and harmony. Our timely beatitude this week is “Blessed are the peacemakers.” What does is look like for us to make peace in these days? The path to peace includes finding common ground because I truly believe we all have more in common than that which divides us. And we need to do the hard work of loving one another; our friends and family, our neighbors, and even our enemies. Let us all continue to pray and work for peace. I hope to see you Sunday ☺
Today we read from Matthew 5:8-9. Our guest preacher is Rev. Dr. Chris Haughee of Intermountain Children's Home "We ask What ancestors are walking with you and cheering you on?" today.
As our election process continues and election day arrives next week, we are weary. We are afraid. We are hopeful. We are angry. We are hurt. Such a mixed array of feelings. And, as God would have it, my sermon the Sunday after the election is on the beatitude, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” I look forward to thinking through what that means for us in these contentious days. Meanwhile, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, wrote these words in his journal on October 6, 1774:
Park County United Methodist Ministries
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