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Weekly Update from Pastor Hank – Nov. 18

Dear Church Family and Community,

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  – Matthew 14:19

 I am not sure what my favorite Thanksgiving memory is. This is mostly because I have a hard time picking one favorite. Why pick a favorite song when you can enjoy songs from many different artists? Why pick a favorite movie when you can enjoy movies from different genres and eras? Why pick a favorite dish when you can spend the rest of your life enjoying many tasty treats? This has always been my stance – picking a favorite is too limited when we can have many favorites.

I am, however, certain of what one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories surely is. I don’t remember the year. I’m not even sure about all the details. I remember we were visiting extended family in upstate New York. And extended family for us meant be on your best behavior, put your best foot forward, and be sure to prove that we are the best and the brightest too. So surely, no pressure at all.

I remember the place being packed with people and, somehow, even more food. I remember the adults dominating the upstairs areas, and we the children being confined to the basement and playing outside. This was perfect for us. There were lots of us running around and more energy than any one house should have to hold. And then it happened. In an exaggerated desperate state, one of my cousins proceeded to run straight through the screen glass door!

It must have been the perfect temperature in the air. He must have run through at the perfect speed, and hit the glass at the perfect angle. He must have also just hit the glass door at the perfect time, because he ran through it cleanly. I remember the feeling of doom covering us, only to be replaced with wonder. How did this happen? How is he not hurt? Wait…are we going to now be the ones who get hurt? I mean it’s Thanksgiving, but you wonder these things.

This happened as part of my introduction to American Thanksgiving. I learned that this was a day for family, food, and football…but not the one I grew up playing. This one had silly rules and all sorts of equipment you had to wear to play. And you played this “football,” mostly with your hands. So weird. But maybe the greatest lesson I was beginning to learn is that always and in all things, we can give thanks.

In this week’s service, we will be looking at Jesus’ command for us to be thankful. To prepare for this week’s service, I would like to invite you to spend time over the next few days, intentionally meditating on Matthew 14:13-21. To help you reflect, I would like to ask you to focus on the following questions:

What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Or one of your favorites?

What lessons has this season of Thanksgiving taught you over the years?

What are a few things you are thankful for this year?

What is one way God has abundantly provided for you?

What is the role of giving thanks in your faith and life?

Years ago, at my first Thanksgiving with Shell’s side of our family, we sat around the table, and I couldn’t wait to jump in. But before we gave thanks in prayer, we took time to go around the table and share with each other some of our thanks that we were praising God for. This is a simple and small tradition, one that I am so grateful that our girls will grow up doing and hearing. We always have thanks to give because of our God’s unfailing love.

Oh give thanks

Unto the Lord

For He is good

Yes He is good

God bless you all, and take care.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Hank
(Matthew 14:19)
P: (717) 561-2170, ext. 104
E: pastorhank@harrisburgbic.org

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