“In the just reward of labor, God’s will is done. In the help we give our neighbor, God’s will is done. In our world-wide task of caring for the hungry and despairing, in the harvest we are sharing, God’s will is done.” —ELW 679 v2
As fall begins, something seems to change in our hearts. We move from the enjoyment of creation that happens when the sun burns long in the sky to a feeling of gratitude and thankfulness that comes from the air being crisp and the days becoming shorter. I think that this change has been a natural occurrence for most of history. When crops are harvested and God has provided, the people are thankful. These days, we aren’t as tide to the cycles of the land. It was always a shocking day when the corn was harvested around the parsonage in which we lived in Illinois. We went from having the summer privacy fence of tall corn to the ground surrounding our home being fallow for the winter.
I know that some of you are glad that your gardens are slowing down or have stopped because you don’t want to can more or freeze more. But even without these connections, we feel the season change and we become a bit more thankful. In the hymn I quoted above, verse 2 speaks of God’s will being done. As God’s people, we can know that we are doing God’s will when we fulfill our calling, when we help those around us, when we share with those in need throughout the world, and we share what God has given to us. Verses 1 and 3 of the hymn names some of the things for which we are to be grateful. The final two lines of the hymn speak to the mystery and grace of God, “For the wonders that astound us, for the truths that still confound us, most of all, that love has found us, thanks be to God.”
We all have different ways that we express our thankfulness and gratitude. Some give away jars of the things that they have canned over the summer, some make special donations to projects and places that are dear to them, some volunteer time in their community, some spend a little more time with family, some give thanks by consuming anything with pumpkin pie spice, some give thanks by avoiding anything with pumpkin pie spice, and some give thanks in the depths or their hearts as the pray for those in need both near and far. As God’s people, created in God’s own image, we reflect who God is to the world and to one another. So the ways and the places that we are able to give thanks are unlimited because God is unlimited.
Today, I am thankful for each one of you. Who have taken a little time to read and reflect on these words I share but who also take their thankfulness seriously. You all teach me a lot about what it means to be generous, gracious, and thankful. Let us work together so that God’s will is done.
~ Pastor Steve