I hope you found yourself surrounded with your family of choice this week as we take a day to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. One of which is having the privilege of being one of your pastors and a member of this community. This church has supported me, loved me, and taught me new ways of seeing God at work in the world, and for that I am eternally thankful.
There is a video going around of a little boy in the park in Atlanta. He is two-year-old Jude and he was at a festival with his mom and dad. His mom tells him it is time to go. So, Jude immediately starts to hug everyone around him. His first hug takes the person sitting down by surprise and then the hug is reciprocated. He then moves around to all the people in his little world at the park and gives them all a hug. This moment was captured by his dad Nick and shared with the world. Bring joy to the over 38 million people that have seen it. This is Jude’s way of giving thanks to the people in his world, whether he knows them or not, for being present. And the video was his father’s way of giving thanks for the love of his son. But it is also his way of preserving that moment of love, joy, and thanks forever.
This week is a time we celebrate and give thanks for the people in our world, but it is also Reign of Christ Sunday which means we give thanks for the love of God that is without end. Let’s read together Psalm 93. A piece of scripture taken from our holy text that also captures a moment of love, joy, and thanks forever.
“1 God reigns, robed in splendor!
You are robed, God, and armed with strength.
The world stands firm and cannot be moved;
2 your throne stands firm from ages past;
from eternity you exist.
3 The seas are shouting, God—
the seas raise their voices;
the seas shout with pounding waves.
4 Stronger than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea,
mightiest of all is God!
5 Your reign was made known from of old;
the holy ones praise you in your Temple,
God, for days without end.”
It is easy to get lost in the enormity of the great joys and hopes of the world as well as the pain and suffering and forget that we serve a God who loves without ceasing and offers grace without yielding. Like the many ways the story of Jude was shared and the memory of that love and thanks was preserved, there are many ways that Christ is with us that we need to give thanks for. Christ is present in the tears of the suffering and the passion of justice. When we tire, Christ is there to sustain the momentum. Christ is at work with all things big and small, all things old and new, all things good and all things frustrating, and everywhere in between.
Friends, it is a week to give thanks especially to Christ, our Lord, our Savior. Christ who brought us together. Who knits families together out of strangers. Christ who is not stopped in foreign lands, economic poverty, or even death. I pause to give thanks today for each of you. Because each one of you is created in the image of a wildly imaginative God who creates, redeems, and sustains us forever. And I thank God for God as well.
A short prayer for your week: *Breathe in and say* “God’s love” *Breathe out and say* “Will Endure.” Repeat.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
Dear Park People,
On November 18th, the Park Sunday School children read the story of Ruth and Boaz. We discussed the hard work that Ruth did, to provide for herself and Naomi. The children were asked, “What are you inspired to work hard for?” Some answers: “To help my family.” “To do well in school.” “To help a friend,” and (not surprisingly!) “To get money.” The children then acted out the story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz (and the other women who worked in the fields with Ruth.) We had a very hard-working Ruth, and a happy, helpful and generous Boaz!
On Sunday November 27th, the Park Sunday school children will read Psalm 93, and discuss the places, in the natural world, where we see the power and glory of God in evidence (in addition to the sea and other bodies of water, storms and floods, as referenced in the psalm.) They will draw pictures of scenes from nature and the natural elements, which, for them, reveal God. They will also spend some time beginning to make decorations for Christmas, starting with Christmas tree stars, since stars are part of the natural world, too.
Blessings, well wishes, and high hopes!
Rev. Francesca Fortunato: Children’s Minister