I am thankful to live in a country where I can vote. I pray for wisdom to make the right decisions at the voting booth.
Lord, in your mercy, here our prayer:
Almighty God and most gracious God, whose mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, we bow before you in gratitude.
You have preserved us in all our ways. You have given us wisdom when in difficulty, strength when we were weak, and courage when needed. All our days have been overshadowed by your love, and all our ways have been blessed by your presence.
We come asking your blessing upon us in this time of our nation. Endow our leaders with wisdom and our people with righteousness. Grant that the gains of the past may be conserved and that the opportunities of the present may lead to a better future. Make our country as pure in soul as she is vast in territory.
As we head into the voting booth, inspire the people of this nation to goodness and truth. And as we wake up on Wednesday, unite us as people of goodwill. Grant that in this nation the people’s of various races, classes, and political persuasion may come together for the purpose of justice and hope, faith and freedom. We offer our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The saints in the little United Methodist Church on highway 60 painted for me a picture of grace. On the back pew my family would sit and hear a word from the Lord. It was in this place, among the saints, that I encountered the calling of God on my life.
From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consists of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us. The author of Hebrews 12 encourages Christians to remember that a “great cloud of witnesses” surrounds us and are cheering us on.
Charles Wesley picks up this theme in his hymn that appears in the United Methodist Hymnal as “Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above.” In the first verse, he offers a wonderful image of the Church through the ages: “Let saints on earth unite to sing, with those to glory gone, for all the servants of our King in earth and heaven, are one.
I am grateful for those who have gone before me. I am blessed because of their love.
I am thankful for children’s books that teach life lessons.
A line from Charlotte’s Web reads, “The next morning, Wilbur was eager to find his new friend. Wilbur called out. ‘I will come down,’ the voice said. Then suddenly Wilbur saw her – a great big spider! The other animals in the barn moved away at the sight of her. They had always thought she was just an ugly spider and they never wanted to be her friend. Where the other animals saw just a spider, Wilbur saw kindness and beauty. He was happy to have a new friend. They were an unlikely pair. Who would have thought that a pig and a spider would become friends? Wilbur saw that Charlotte was gentle and caring. And slowly, so did all the other animals”
What if we were all like Wilbur? What if, where the rest of the world sees a threat, like Wilbur, we see kindness and beauty? What if like Wilbur, we were happy to have a new friend? What if our courage to forge new friendships was the step needed for those around us to overcome their own prejudices?
I am thankful for Joe. He came into our life about ten years ago. We spotted him at the Cherokee County Animal Shelter. He picked us out. We didn’t pick him.
The next day I went and rescued him from behind the chain-linked fence and brought him home to the family.
Joe greets my boys when they get off the school bus. He loves to go on walks through the woods. Joe likes to lay beside you during crisp fall evenings on the back porch.
He doesn’t like loud noises. He doesn’t make a good hunting dog. Joe likes chasing rabbits. Just don’t expect him to catch one.
Joe will run after a tennis ball but his limit is about three chases in a row. He will sit on command. He will shake when you ask him. But if he has not seen you in a while, forget trying to make him sit. His excitement takes over and joy comes in the form of jumps in the air.
Some life lessons Joe has taught us:
You can still wag a tail, even on the worst of days.
Unconditional love does exist.
Joe loves us if we have it together and when we don’t.
There is always time for belly rubs…….to demonstrate love.
Life is lived in the moment. Joe doesn’t know if you have scheduled a walk tomorrow.
I am grateful for amazing grace. Grateful because grace is my lifeline.
The older I get and the more I attempt to understand the world and the God who created the world the more I am amazed by grace.
We live in an imperfect world. Imperfect people do imperfect things. Imperfect people do not deal with life perfectly. Imperfect people make lousy lovers. God knows this. So, God does the very best thing: God shows us what love looks like. Romans 5:8 says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were dead in our way of life, Christ died for us.
While we were lost in our own sin, Christ died for us. While we were trapped in our own guilt, Christ died for us. While drowning in our own addictions, Christ died for us. This is Good News. “Not that we loved God, but that God loves us and sent his Son to die for us so that we may live.”
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.