Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!
It is a good and joyous thing to be thankful. Without looking up what being thankful means in some type of online definition, I have spent some time over the past few hours contemplating what thankful means to me. Is it an emotion? Is it a state of being? Is it a response to an action that is taken? Probably all of them, but as I said, I’m not looking up the real definition. But I have come to the ideal that thankful is a state of internal joy as a result of something received. Sometimes this may be a material object- certainly if someone gifted me a Porsche, I would feel thankful. Of course that would only be a temporary thankfulness until I needed to do some maintenance on it.
Recently, our family has experienced some difficult situations. But even in each of them, I found the ability to be thankful. Thankful for times shared, thankful for family bonding, thankful for recovery, and especially, thankful that we had a God to lean on for comfort and support. As I reflected more on this sense of “thankful” that I had, I came to the conclusion that this thankful sense that I was experiencing was much larger than the situations of our lives, and was also larger than the sum total of the things that I recognized as good that came as a result of them. A very familiar verse came to mind,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:6-7 (New International Version)
With all that is going on around us and often even in the midst of the outward frustration that I feel in much of it, thankfulness for so much still resonates in my being. There is no way to explain this rationally- as I sometimes would really like to vent irrationally. But thankful wins the day every time.
So, my conclusion to my mental ramblings is that this is the peace of God. That even in the midst of difficulty and challenge, this peace that God provides, is bigger than anything that we are dealing with. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that we won’t deal with our human emotions as we navigate the circumstances in which we find ourselves. So, I am thankful, because I have a relationship with my Father in heaven made possible by his Son, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the gift of peace that I received from Him when I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I am thankful for this protection on my heart and mind, because God knows, that such protection is greatly needed…Thanks!
I am looking forward to the events of this upcoming Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent. It is my hope that our worship traditions of lighting the first candle of Advent and the Hanging of the Greens will add to the inner peace of thanksgiving that you are experiencing. Maybe our combined Sunday School study, The Christmas Experience, may stimulate feelings of joy and thanksgiving as we experience the lives of those that God used in the revealing of his Son Jesus in the small town of Bethlehem. Whether you join us for in-person fellowship, worship with your small group in one of three classrooms, the fellowship hall where the services are being live streamed on large screen televisions, or simply join us on-line, the idea that we are in worship together will be something that we can all be thankful for. Even though the situations aren’t ideal, or what we would like, it will be through this thanksgiving that we can enjoy the peace of God.
This week will be a busy one. We will have our contemporary worship at 9AM, The Christmas Experience Sunday School Study (live streamed as well) at 10AM, traditional worship at 11AM and then a time of fellowship as we “Hang the Greens” with a Pizza lunch available. We will have featured sets of music led by Matt Monticchio, our Worship Leader for the 9AM service and a special guest throughout our time of decorating. If you can’t make it, but would like to enjoy the music from home, we will live stream three various sets of music between 12:30PM and 2PM!
At 2PM, we will hold our annual Church Charge Conference with our District Superintendent, Rev. Catherine Boileau (Cathy) which should last about a half an hour. All great stuff!
Yorkshire Church will remain open for in-person fellowship for those that seek this form of worship, including children’s Sunday School for all age groups. As stated last week and inferred above, we will also have three classrooms open (202, 204, 206) as well as the fellowship hall where services and adult Sunday School will be live streamed to allow our folks to spread out as much as possible so that the imposed guidelines may be satisfied to allow us to continue to meet in-person. Through the order of the governor as well as a mandate by the Susquehanna Conference leadership, the guidance is that masks must now be worn at all times when inside the church facility. Exceptions will be allowed for speakers, worship leaders, and at times when a mask cannot be worn such as eating. Anyone with a health condition that does not allow for continued wear of a respiratory limiting face covering will also be exempt.
Yes, I find it difficult to find joy in many of these mandated guidelines that are being imposed on us, but, I do have great thankfulness in my heart that we still have the opportunity to gather as God’s Church, called to fellowship with one another, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yes, I am very thankful for that and for everyone that makes Yorkshire Church the Church that it is for a time such as this!
Have a great and blessed day and weekend!
- pastor dave. firstname.lastname@example.org
125 Edgewood Road, York, PA 17402 • (717)755-4952 • www.yorkshirechurch.org