Turkey, trimmings and theology
How appropriate that Thanksgiving comes at the very end of the church year. For Christians who follow the lectionary and the traditional calendar, Nov. 25 is Christ the King Sunday.
On Christ the King Sunday faithful men and women around the world celebrate Christ's promised coming again, the event that will end the current age, reset time, and change reality. As we say in the Nicene Creed, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end."
One week later, on Dec. 2, of course, we will begin the church year anew, with Advent. We will be once again an ignorant people living in darkness, awaiting the light of Christ.
How appropriate that just before the ceremonial end of all time our culture hosts a big feast and gives thanks for all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. With the end of time only a few days away, it's appropriate to give thanks not only for the blessings in our own lives, but the way that God has lifted up and sustained men and women of faith in all generations.
We can give thanks for the faith we have received from our forebears, the faith that has been kept alive through prayer, liturgy, music, devotion and other traditions. We can give thanks for the Holy Spirit's guidance in our lives.
We can, most of all, give thanks for God's biggest and best miracle -- coming to us, dwelling among us, saving us with a gospel so radical and anti-worldly, the powers of this world had to crucify its leader in the most shameful way imaginable at the time. Destroy it. Or so they thought.
In the Thursday before the end of all days, let us pause amid the turkey and football, the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, the washing of dishes and after-dinner naps, let us pause to give thanks for God's greatest gift to us, expressed in the mystery of our faith: "Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again." Thanks be to God!
-Rob Blezard, Webmaster and Editor
Reprint rights granted for nonprofit congregational use. Just include this notice: "Copyright (c) 2007, the Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission.
New This Week:
Coming Up Short in December
With just a few weeks left to the year, how is your budget doing? If your congregation is like most, it could be behind. This handy article gives you strategies – good and bad! – for coping. Click here for “Coming Up Short in December, from the United Methodist Church’s Center for Christian Stewardship.
An Overlooked Step to Success
Churches typically look for next year’s leaders in the final weeks of the old year. The quality of the leaders will go a long way in determining the success of your ministry, yet how many churches have a good process for selecting new leaders. Good food for thought! Click here for “An Overlooked Step to Success,” from Tuck Aaker, columnist for ELCA Stewardship Resources.
ELCA Good Gifts
Forget about buying the “perfect gift” for your family member of friend who already has everything! Put your money to good use. Donate money to a worthy ELCA cause in the name of your cherished one. You can help a struggling retired pastor, assist victims of disaster, help start a new church. Imagine the good you can do. Click here for ELCA Good Gifts, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Stewardship from the Lectionary
Looking for a way to put more stewardship into your preaching? Here is a great help -- a weekly commentary that highlights stewardship aspects in the weekly lectionary texts. Click here for "Stewardship from the Lectionary," from ELCA Stewardship Resources.