Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Monthly report from the Stated Clerk
November 2015

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the news, terrorism, advertising for Christmas, and a daily schedule that feels out of control?

That is not a very uplifting introduction to a letter to the Presbytery at Thanksgiving time. Or perhaps it is totally appropriate for Thanksgiving and Advent approach and we are called return to our roots and begin again. We review our lives, where we “fit” into the world order, and how we cope with the swirling of daily events.

First, let us turn to our faith. It is appropriate to lift our voices singing with the ancients of our faith for they speak to us today in the midst of a chaotic world. God the Creator, God the Sustainer is faithful for all time.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

I also went perusing the Internet this morning for a “good” Thanksgiving prayer to share with the family. The Moravian Blessing struck me as simple and truthful where Jesus is invited to the table as well as remembering those who are not present.

Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care.

And let us focus on a hurting world, to which we are called to make a difference. I especially like the reminder of this prayer from Samuel F. Pugh:

Help Me Thanksgiving Day Prayer

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

Friends, as the life of the presbytery moves into a new year, let us be thankful for all those who have helped us focus on our mission. There are way too many people to name (and I would likely forget someone), but be assured that I am grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you for the energy you have given to the new vision, transforming committees, handing the reigns to new leadership to new folks who will help to create a new future.

Yes, at Thanksgiving time I am grateful to the work you have entrusted to me as the Stated Clerk. It has been a good ministry (more about that in December). I am grateful to the depth of mission and ministry of our pastors and congregations. I am grateful to the “non-parish” clergy who live their faith in service to the community, teaching and caring for others. I am grateful for retired clergy who faithfully worship and pray for our ministry as a presbytery. We are not perfect but we are seeking to be as faithful as possible to the tasks we have been given. God asks no more.

With the psalmist, let us Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth, lifting our hands in thanksgiving and joy for the life we have been given and the faith we celebrate.

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