Pastor Ponderings

“A psalm of thanksgiving. Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!  Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Psalm 100: New Living Translation)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I read recently that Psalm 100 is second only to the 23rd Psalm, as the most popular and beloved Psalm in the Bible. Although the Psalm is only 5 verses long, it is a beautiful invitation to all the earth to praise and worship God who both creates us and sustains us.

This Psalm came to mind for me as we turn our calendars to November and look forward to our national holiday of Thanksgiving. Each of us have so much to be thankful for and sometimes it takes a holiday like Thanksgiving to remind us. That is not to say that we don’t have individual fears or concerns, but when our troubles are kept in perspective, and set alongside of God’s grace and mercy, they do seem more manageable.

The reasons to be thankful will vary from person to person. Some are thankful for life changing events, such as getting a driver’s license, graduating from high school or college, the birth of a child, a new relationship, or maybe a promotion at work. Still others are thankful for the on-going love and support of family and friends, the ability to hear beautiful music or a child’s laughter, the ability to see wonderful works of art or the vibrant colors of a sunset. When we truly set our minds to a spirit of thankfulness, we can’t help but acknowledge God’s many blessings.

The psalmist invites us to show our appreciation for God’s love and faithfulness in our act of worship. In Psalm 100, we are encouraged to enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and go into God’s courts with praise as we give thanks and praise God’s holy name.

This past couple of years, Covid-19 has made it difficult to fully celebrate and worship as we would like, and yet, I give thanks for all of you and your patience as we have gone through this difficult time together as a community of faith.

I am thankful for those who attended parking lot worship in the bitter cold. I am thankful for those who mask even though they may not be comfortable. I am thankful for those who are willing to accept an elbow bump rather than a handshake or hug. I am thankful for those who feel safer to worship from home and tune into our on Facebook worship each week.

I am thankful for our church council and our In-person Task Force for doing the difficult job of balancing safety with the desire for normalcy. I am thankful for all of you who continue to place the safety of others as your priority.

Called into a community where our main concern is loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, maintaining an attitude of thankfulness is important, especially during difficult times. As we join together to help one another through these trying times, let us continue to give thanks to God and praise God’s name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”

Thanking God for each of you,

Pastor Bob