Do we really realize and consider what the Pilgrims had been through in that first year in new surroundings? They left Europe on creaky wooden ships, bound for a place they had never seen and could only imagine. The trip was stormy and dangerous. Not all completed the journey. They landed in a place where the soil was rocky and hard to till. They had to hunt for food with muskets. With bare hands and few tools, they built houses. They suffered from diseases that killed half of them. After all of this, they took the time to thank God with grateful hearts.
The deeper meaning of Thanksgiving is not so much about thanking God for the bounty of our lives. Rather it is learning to live our lives with grateful hearts no matter our circumstances. To have a grateful heart is to be open to all that life offers, the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the happy and the sad. To have a grateful heart is a way of being in the world; it is not an act we must perform. Life itself is the gift and being able to live that gift in a community of caring folks is truly a blessing. May we observe this Thanksgiving with open, loving, and grateful hearts.
Thanksgiving Day elicits a bounty of wonderful memories for many people: the crisp air, the smell of a turkey roasting and a pumpkin pie baking, sounds of a cheering crowd at a football game. All these can create warm feelings during this special time of year.
The thanksgiving holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, thanking God for our blessings is a spiritual discipline that should not be limited to a single day. Along with expanding our waistlines, our preparation for and celebration of the holiday can be the impetus toward growing an attitude of gratitude that will carry over into the rest of the year. In his commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, John Wesley writes, “Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer; it is almost essentially connected with it.” Giving thanks is as essential to our spiritual growth as prayer.
How will you be thankful for the 30 days before Thanksgiving 2019? What family traditions has your family celebrated in the past? What new tradition(s) might you begin this year?
I encourage you to participate and celebrate as you have in the past, and to look to new ways to express thanks this year.
May we observe this Thanksgiving with open, loving, and grateful hearts. and may we offer a prayer for this community and our world.
Thanksgiving blessings to you and your families from your parsonage family,
Gordon, Caroline and Chandler
Thank you to the 61 members of our congregation and the community who attended the “free meal” on Sunday, October 13, 2019. Special thanks you to Charlie and Betsy Haag, Kris and Melissa Mathews for preparing chicken, to Leona Hilker for the table decorations, for your attendance and participation, and to those who helped clean up after the meal.
Please be sure to extend a warm welcome to those we recently received in baptism: Olin Hawkinson, Arika Marshall, Jacquelyn Marshall, Joni Marshall, and Makayla Marshall. We received Cole and Shelby Hawkinson, Arika Marshall, Jacquelyn Marshall, Joni Marshall, and Makayla Marshall as members of Oberlin United Methodist Church.
On October 6, 2019, Kansas Wesleyan University announced a 50% tuition scholarship for members of the United Methodist Church. The scholarship is for full-time undergraduate students studying on the campus at the university in Salina. The scholarship will go into effect beginning with the spring 2020 semester for new, incoming students. Salina District Superintendent Delores Williamston says, “this announcement is a commitment to quality education.” KWU is about the success of its students and has seen three years of a 99% to 100% rate of job placement for its graduates. If you have questions about the tuition scholarship for Kansas Wesleyan, please contact Pastor Gordon.