Today's Lectionary Text
Philippians 4:8From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.
It was the first fire. It was the first fire I built this fall. Monday evening as the sun was setting I decided the room was a bit chilly and it was time. We had the old copper boiler full of good sized chunks of wood and the apple box that held “starter wood” filled as well. As I set the wood in the box of the stove, I prayed.
Seriously, I prayed.
I gave God thanks for the trees that provided the wood for us. I named the redbuds that line our driveway and drop small limbs regularly to provide perfect kindling. I thanked God and the elm tree that had fallen during the summer and had been cut and stacked so we could burn it this year.
I am aware that what we receive is more than just wood. We receive a reminder of God’s good creation and we are all called to honor it. Most certainly we should notice what it is that we consume and how we consume the plants and animals and other resources that indeed bless our lives in so many ways.
As the leaves fall and the days shorten, we now shift into a season of gratitude. Cooler days and nights and hot tea are calls for us to slow down and celebrate the great gift of life we share together, for a time. I would encourage you to keep a “gratitude journal” from now until Thanksgiving. It would be wonderful to share what you wrote when you gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, regardless of how extravagant or simple that gathering may be.
Reflect and notice the many gifts of each day. Ponder how you might be a blessing to others, especially those who are strangers or simply those with whom you interact but do not know well.
As Christians we are called to be God’s love. We are to take love to a different level. The love we express is not to be reserved for our family and friends. We are to love those with whom we disagree. We are to love those who caused us harm, or at least caused disappointment. We are to love our enemies, whatever that might mean for any of us.
We are still living through a time that many are calling polarized and divisive. It need not be so. We can be the change our world needs. These are words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians that I shared last Sunday in the sermon. “…if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things; all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.”
Choose your focus. Notice. Be grateful.
Stumbling forward, hoping for grace,
In Christ’s love,
Rev. Barb Clinger
Shawnee Heights UMC
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color