by Rev. Dr. Krista S. Givens
If you could name one thing that we (the world, our culture, our church, each of us individually?) need, what would ask for? What do we need?
(Money? peace? more people?)
Today we end our Stewardship Campaign, our yearly dive into fundraiser, into asking for your help with what we need as a church. If we are to do what we’d like to do…
- offer meaningful worship
- provide weekly musical offerings
- extend opportunities for youth, children, babies and adults.
… we need resources. We need volunteers to help and food to serve, we need money for new books and money to pay a salary.
Often, we are so worried about what we need, we overlook all that we have. And this panic is amplified during the holiday? Why? Because we put so much pressure on ourselves to buy presents for everyone we know, to have the best parties and the biggest meals and to invite everyone to our houses and that requires the best decorations and maybe a new couch… etc etc etc… It goes on and on. Even though we have abundance, we still feed the need for more.
That’s why we need a time for gratitude. To just stop all that need and say “Thanks.” So, in that vein, let me say “thanks.”
- Thank you to all who help with worship each Sunday. (Those who direct our choir, those who sing in our choir, Grace who plays piano for us each week, our ushers and acolytes, those who bring food for fellowship time, those who serve as our liturgists.)
- Thank you to all who help educate us! (our leaders and teachers, our child care workers, those who help with our youth and those who support our bible studies.)
- Thank you to you who serve on our committees (those who sit in meetings, those who take minutes, those who carpool with others, those who bring snacks.)
- Thank you to all who do the “little things behind the scenes” to help out.
- Thank you to Ara, our new administrative assistant, and all those who help in the office.
- Thank you for caring for each other, making phone calls when you notice someone is sick or absent, for those who offer rides and friendship, for those who come to dinner. (Did we miss anyone?)
Thank you. In this season when we recognize that we need a lot, we also look around and see the abundance that we DO have. And our scripture from the prophet Isaiah helps us to understand this:
For some context, Theologian Elizabeth Webb describes the passage this way:
The drought of 2012 left many with withered lawns and watering bans, left farmers without crops, and left animals both wild and domestic in danger of starvation and dehydration. Others of us, however, have seen too much water in recent months, with homes, crops, businesses, and communities devastated by flooding.
Isaiah’s language in 12:2-6 of the wells of God’s salvation speaks both to those who suffer water’s absence and those who feel drowned in the waters of destruction. God’s salvation flows and overflows, fulfilling the deepest need of parched souls with the very presence of God in their midst. (1)
Isaiah 12: 1-6
You will say on that day: I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say on that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
“Here in Isaiah 12:3, the “wells of salvation” from which the people will draw seem to reflect both salvation and divine presence, as the reference to God’s indwelling with Israel suggests.” Webb says, “The wells of salvation, the water of God’s gracious presence, are bottomless, endless. These are the waters that give life, restoring vibrancy to a world that is dying of thirst, and seeking wholeness for those overwhelmed by the floods of destruction.” (2)
So how do we express our gratitude to one another and to God? How shall we thank God for the many blessings God has given to us? Do we offer mighty songs of praise? Yes. Do we whisper quiet prayers to God? Yes. Do we offer public statements of appreciation for the people in our lives? Yes. Do we send a heartfelt note? Yes. Do we we give of our abundance? Yes. Do we pledge our loyalty to God through lives of service and compassion? Yes, in all these things we shall offer our praise and our commitment to God and God’s people. Each new day, each new opportunity, each new person in our lives is a blessing given freely to us by God.
Let us give thanks to God. Amen.
- Elizabeth Webb, found On http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1515