For the last few years, we have had our 'pledge Sunday' as the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving. We've gathered together as a parish family at one service to commit ourselves to sharing together in the time, talents and treasure that go together to make the church of the Good Samaritan happen. When I see the stream of people, year after year, coming up to the altar to offer their pledge for coming year, I'm filled with emotion - and the first of those is thanksgiving. I'm so grateful to God for each one of you, your unique gifts and character and for the community that we share together in this place. Thank you!
Offering back to God the first of what He has given us in worship is at the heart of stewardship. It flows from an attitude of thanksgiving - of gratitude to God for His provision, and of a desire to respond to the generosity of God with our own generosity. Feasting at Thanksgiving is about a celebration of the abundance of God's provision. We remember the goodness of God, and focus our attention on counting our blessings.
I'm often asked if we have Thanksgiving in England. We have 'Harvest Festivals' in the Fall (usually October) which churches celebrate, but not the nation as a whole and not on a set date. Abraham Lincoln's institution of a national day on the last Thursday of November which began in 1863 is a wonderful holiday. It's become my favorite holiday of the year. Free of consumerism, it is a simple time for relationship and thankfulness - two thing we could always use more of.
My prayer for our church in this season, is that God would fill us with hearts overflowing with thankfulness. May His grace fill each one of you, that your souls would be full of wonder in all His works, and your lives overflow with gratitude in all that you do and say.