Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hymn of Praise for Thanksgiving from Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

On this Thanksgiving week I give thanks to God for all of you and the amazing ministries that are happening here in the Eastern PA and Peninsula-Delaware Conference.  May you continue to draw strength from our amazing God, who provides us with all things needed for the work.  Here is a new hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (which can be sung to the tune of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”  The Text is Copyright 2010 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.  All rights reserved.  This is being used by permission.  For further use of this hymn you can e-mail  bcgillette@comcast.net)   For other hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette check out her website at www.carolynshymns.com.

All of life is filled with wonder, so we thank you, God of love
For the crash of evening thunder, clearing clouds, then stars above
For the night that turns to glowing as we feel the morning mist,
God, we praise and thank you, knowing every day we’re truly blessed.

For the joy of daily waking, for the gift of each new day,
For the smell of fresh bread baking, for the sound of children’s play,
For the ways we seek to serve you as we work and volunteer,
God we humbly praise and thank you for your presence with us here.

For the ways we’re blessed with plenty – love and laughter, neighbors, friends,
Nature’s wonders, seasons’ bounty, life in you that never ends.
For the ones who’ve gone before us, giving witness to your way
We rejoice in all you give us every moment, every day.

For your love in times of trouble, for your peace when things are tough,
For your help when hardships double, for your grace that is enough.
For a stranger’s gentle kindness, for a doctor’s healing skill
God, we thank you that you bless us and you bless your world as well.

For the baby in the manger, for the cross and empty tomb,
For each time a searching stranger finds at church a welcome home
For your kingdom’s great surprises - poor ones lifted, lost ones found
God, we thank you! Hope still rises, for your gifts of grace abound.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thank a Vet

On this Veteran’s Day weekend we pause to thank the veterans of our armed services for their sacrifices made for their country.  We remember the families of veterans who serve in their own way as they support their loved one in the service.  We also need to give thanks for countless people who gave their lives in defense of freedom.  Be sure to thank those veterans that you know and meet on the street.
Veteran’s Day was originally known as “Armistice Day” and was established as a day to remember the end of World War I (November 11, 1918).   It was changed to “Veteran’s Day” in 1954 and was broadened to remember all those who served their country in all conflicts.  The word “Armistice” means “a temporary cessation of fighting by mutual agreement or a truce.”  (“The Free Dictionary” by Farlex)  The word literally means “arms stand still.” I am struck by the “temporary cessation” part.  War seems to be inevitable on this earth.  At the end of WW I people thought that was the war to end all wars. Sadly that was not true.  Wars rage on the earth constantly on almost every continent.  For arms to “stand still” takes an act of agreement that in my opinion is harder to come by than by military means. 
United Methodists believe that war is “incompatible with the teachings and example of Jesus” (Social Principles, Paragraph 165.C) and as followers of Christ we are called to the work of “armistice” that is, putting down arms through the difficult work of peace-making.  The Social Principles “insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to work together to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them.”  
So on this day we honor those who strove to do this as they served in our military forces and we also need to observe this day by personally making a commitment to the work of peace-making in this world.  As the song goes “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”