Thanks be to God.Steve Willner
Dear Friends in Christ,
There is a lot going on lately, and a lot to be thankful for. I’ll list some of it. And you know most of it. But last week when we were drafting the Stewardship brochure for our 150th Anniversary Steve Willner edited one paragraph to conclude, simply, “thanks be to God.” Good choice.
I’ve written this before, quoting Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” For me Meister and Steve are at the heart of Christian faith.
I thank God for all the planning and preparation and all the music and words of kindness for our twentieth anniversary together. The Rev. Paul Shupe said this well — it’s not about me, but about you and about God. I got to be in the pews enjoying our excellent music and hearing our wise leaders, and I thank you so much for precious, ongoing gifts at this anniversary. If you haven’t seen the book that compiles photos and words of faith, it will be in the Parlor: Check it out.
I am thankful also that the very same weekend Yevgenia offered her musical gifts to organize something around $3,500 for Ukrainian refugee assistance (and we’d had that three-week soup fundraiser for World Central Kitchen already, for nearly the same).
I am thankful that sometime between now and summer we have three infants and toddlers who are on track for baptisms. I appreciate this so much because it means that some things are taking on an element of normal, even while we find our new normal.
I am excited about recognitions and celebrations for our 150th birthday, and we’ll start some explanations on May 15 and climax on Juneteenth, when a convergence of blessings will occur. A birthday for us, a new federal holiday harmonious with our own anti-racist Christianity, and our traditional Circle of Blessings. But thank God we’re almost 150!
I hope that everyone reading this has received the NHCC+ materials — NHCC Plus is our Stewardship theme for this year, and our brochure details some of the plusses of this place. It challenges us, also, to know that the inflation in our nation affects our mission, too, so I hope you will join me in the effort to give until it feels good, from the blessings and for the blessings of this place. Join me in striving to raise all we envision for our Christian ministry.
I am worried that this year for Mother’s Day it looks like the Supreme Court will force motherhood on some who do not choose it or are not able to receive it. I am worried because this forced non-choice will fall predominantly on the least advantaged, or who Jesus calls “the least of these” my sisters. I am saddened and I know it means that Christians like me need to lift our voices to support that word God speaks in Deuteronomy 30, when the Creator puts choice in human hands. I know it means that our progressive, Bible-based Christianity is necessary in our world.
As I said, there is a lot going on. A twenty-year celebration, fundraisers for the world, a Stewardship campaign for the church, a 150th birthday, and the sacraments of the Church. So thanks be to God for all we have and all we have to give. Thanks be to God for blessings and choices and history and promise. Thanks be to God for you. It will be a wonderful May.