October 2018   
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Rector's Msg.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:1-5

Our theme for Stewardship this year is Grateful to God. I really like this theme because it is beautiful in its simplicity, as it is so open ended. In the concept of being grateful to God there is so much latitude in what this means and what it applies to. Also, I appreciate that the theme is not directly tied to money, which is one of the traps we fall into regarding stewardship.

Since this theme is so wide-open, when I think of what I am grateful for, there are quite a few things that spring into my head. I am grateful for all that the Lord has provided, family, friends, health, a home, but today, as I am leading a retreat for two other churches, I am reflecting on how thankful I am for you. You are such a gift to me, my family, and the world.

This thankfulness brings to mind a time back in high school, when my small group was working on memorizing Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we never finished, but sections of it stuck in my mind. The first thing that came to me, when I was considering you, were these verses from the beginning of the letter, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now,” Phil 1:3-5.

I am drawn to these verses because this is how I feel about you. I feel as though Paul was speaking for me. He understood the power of being loved by a community and loving them back. He was moved by the miracle of serving the Lord together and seeing Him work. He was encouraged to have them praying for him as he prayed for them. This is how I feel about you, and I am thankful.

Now there are many ways that I can express that gratefulness. Psalm 95 calls upon the people of Israel to respond to the Lord with songs and joyful noises. I will spare you the pain of listening to me sing, but the idea of using our skills to lift up the name of the Lord is an excellent way to give thanks to God. Similarly, we are also approaching the time of the harvest. A time when we remember that everything came from God. It is a time of thanksgiving and praise when we return the firstfruits of the harvest back to the Lord. This reminds us of the call upon our lives to be generous with thanksgiving for all that is from God.

This year, as we consider being grateful to God, may that gratitude lead us to deeper devotion to Him and an ever increasing desire to share the gifts of God with others. Thank you for being partners with me in the Gospel and I look forward to where the Lord will lead us together.

In gratitude,

~Seth~

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