Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Romans 12:2 MSG

Friday, November 16, 2018

A Hive of Endless Thanksgiving

We the church are a Hive of endless thanksgiving - each and everyone here gathered into community where all are blessed and all are fed.  
Take a moment and just consider the activity that buzzes around this place of Grace.  There is an unfolding work that takes place every day that in turn builds up the life of the body.  Each person – each ministry – each mission – creatively working together.  Moment by moment – person by person – the Hive generates life.  
It is God at work within us that makes this possible.  God picking us up – God giving us faith – God growing perseverance – God making something of us for the sake of the world.  

One of the songs by U2 and Bono that I love is a song entitled “40.”  It is written as a Song of Thanksgiving -  As you listen what hope and life is grown within you?  What are you and we most thankful for?  Great questions to consider as we gather around tables this Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is an extra special time in our home.  For the last twelve years it seems there has always been an international ministry focus that has blessed us during that week.  Several of those years filled with travel to India to accompany ministry partners in the outreach and compassion work of Titus and his family.  In India, Feed the Hungry programs, Aids Relief Nutrition Food Packet Distribution, Sewing Center Graduation Blessings and Dedication, After School Tutoring Programs, Worship and Dance, time spent exploring the World Religions and their Holy Sites, learning about Gandhi and the way of peace, and shared inspiration while visiting the Taj Mahal.  All of it blessed because of the shared time as God’s family and friends.  Another year spent in Ethiopia and South Sudan dedicating the work of the ELCA and Reconciliation Lutheran Church and Medical Center.  In 2015, traveling home on Thanksgiving Day with our daughter Jewel.  We landed at Washington Dulles at 8 am, her papers stamped by US Customs as a future US Citizen, and landing in Denver to a joyous homecoming and first ever turkey dinner.  Oh the memories of this time of the year are rich with so much life transformation and blessing.  This Thanksgiving Day, after a banquet with our family here, Susan and I will be flying to India that evening to preside over the wedding of our Indian daughter Maraline.  We have watched her grow up and we now get to participate in a joyous occasion of her life.  What a precious and thank-filled time!  

The Hive called the Church has been the collaborative swarm that has made all of this life possible.

(this pic taken at the Glass Museum in Tacoma – it gave me the idea of the Hive and the Church)
I hold this very idea of the beautiful work of the church in the world in tension with an article I read this past week.  The article was published by the New York Times and the title is: ‘Toxic’ Is Oxford’s Word of the Year.  No, We’re Not Gaslighting You.  Here is the link:

Toxic?  The word of the year?  While I understand the dynamics out of which this word was chosen I simply refuse to accept this as the core narrative out of which we live.  Yes it is part of our human experience.  Yes it seems that a toxicity has infiltrated so many aspects of our lives, but there is so much more!  I admit that I do not know how to live by the conditions and terms of a toxic world.  We are made for so much more than that.  I also get to participate in the work of the local church where I see and know the stories of thanksgiving and generosity that are leading the ways of our life.  The swarm of the disciples of Jesus are seeking to make an impact and to take on the ills and broken places of this world.  The energy and spirit is there to do it.  The compassion and faith to do it is alive and well in God’s people.  When we see the heartbeat of God alive within the Hives of the church we celebrate it.  We shout it from the rooftops.  We draw others into the blessed work of being the church.  We catalyze one another and the entire body for blessing.  
One example at Grace is that the hungry are being fed and provided for, the systems of injustice that keep people poor and hungry are being addressed, the resources needed are being given, the network of partnerships are being continually knit together, stories of transformation are being told, and others are being drawn into this good work.  Little by little, day by day, person by person, the hive is nurtured and lives are being changed.
Toxic will get us nowhere.  A Hive of endless Thanksgiving will generate life.  What will you and I dedicate our lives to this Thanksgiving Season?  Whatever you are rejoicing over, I rejoice with you.  Whatever you are weeping over, I weep with you.  May we be open to the story of life that God is writing with us – right here – right now – for the life of ALL!
With Gratitude,
Pastor Chad      

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