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I thank my God…

Thanksgiving is two days away and I have yet to buy my turkey.  In fact: the only ingredient I currently have in the house, for the feast that is expected by my hungry crew, is crispy French Fried Onions to top the delicacy we all know and love as green bean casserole.  Unfortunately, I have yet to purchase the green beans… or the makings for stuffing… or potatoes… or cranberry sauce… I know, the veterans among us are shaking their heads.  By the time I make my way to the store I will find sparse shelves.  But there has been no time for shopping… or perhaps better stated, there have been more important things to do than shop for a meal that will take hours to prepare and minutes to consume.  I know I have a list to make and preparations to consider.  But instead, I find myself in this quiet, pre-dawn hour, reading once again the opening to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  I thank my God every time I remember you… Over the years, those simple words have moved and shaped my prayer.  This morning I am yet again captivated by the thoughts that Paul’s ancient letter inspires.

I thank my God every time I remember you…

I thank my God for all those who create beauty in our worship.  The ring of bells, the beat of a drum, the call of the brass, the harmonies voiced to the strike of piano keys, each week a different combination of gifts that invite us to praise our Creator.

I thank my God for our little ones in worship and for those who shepherd them in the faith.  I think of the children who eagerly gather on the sanctuary steps for their special moment in worship.  The answers they call out often speak the sermon we adults need to hear.  I think of the babies who sing a chorus with me as I preach and their parents who are determined to raise their children in the faith.  I think of those who sacrifice their quiet moment of worship to love our children into the presence of the Savior.

I thank my God for the little ones in our Preschool who press their noses against the window of my office door, and dance around me as I make my way through the halls of our church.  I thank my God for the privilege of walking with their families through the struggles of these past few years.

I thank my God for our children who are not so little anymore.  Our teens and college students and emerging young adults face temptations so different than we faced in our youth.  What a joy last week to see Emily’s witness in worship sent from her college dorm room at Clemson.  What a joy to sit with our youth on Sunday night as they shared an ice cream feast.  What a joy to watch the antics of our preteens at EPIC on a Friday night.  All that joy sends me yet again to my knees in prayer that our children will come to know Jesus, and love Him, and serve Him all their days.

I thank my God for a faith community who will come out for a Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, December 4th to support our Youth Mission trip.  I thank God for the fellowship that will be shared around the table that morning, and for the encouragement you will give to our teens.

I thank my God for the elders in our midst who have walked in faith longer than many of us have lived.  Yet, with all their experience and wisdom, they still bring into our fellowship an eager heart to learn and grow and serve.
I thank my God for our rich, four-generation fellowship at Lenape Valley. What a joy to watch our faith community on our Church Has Left the Building Sunday, all ages gathered to serve as one, from little ones barely able to walk to those who have lived into their 9th decade.  
I thank my God for those who offer a bit of levity to brighten the day.  This was Sunday’ gift:
Brain cells die.  Skin cells die.  Even hair cells die.
But Fat cells… must have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
because they seem to have eternal life.
I thank my God for the caregivers in our midst who quietly offer grace in a graceless world.  One card… one call… one flower… one visit… each touch- a gift of grace.  The sacrificial heart of our people humbles me.  Your presence in each other’s lives transforms grief into hope, struggle into triumph, loneliness into friendship.  How you honor the Savior and bless our community with your gift.

I thank my God for those who are visiting with us… God blessing us with growth in these challenging days.  I pray that you will find home in the family of faith we call Lenape Valley.

I thank my God for the generous heart of our people.  You amaze me!

I thank my God for a faith community who would don blue t-shirts to welcome the neighbors for a Free Fall Fest.

I thank my God for those who greet us at the door on Sunday mornings inspiring a graceful heart in all of us.

I thank my God for our leaders who have boldly followed the Savior into the unknown, carefully shepherding our faith community through the challenges so that we can thrive.
I thank my God every time I remember you.  
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 
because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 
being confident of this: that He who began a good work in you 
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
With you, giving thanks,  Anita
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