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A Hunger for Thanksgiving

Text: Colossians 1:11-20 “Come, ye thankful people come,” wrote Henry Alford in 1844, “Raise the song of harvest home; all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin; God, our Maker, doth provide, for our wants to be supplied; come to God’s own temple come, raise the song of harvest home.” I love Thanksgiving hymns. I love the way they celebrate the goodness of God, the bounty of land and sea, the richness of life itself. When I sing Thanksgiving hymns, I feel the warmth of sitting before a roaring fire during a winter snow storm, safe, secure, and serene, with not a care in the world. The poet Robert Browning captures the spirit of Thanksgiving hymns with his words, “God’s in his he

Noticing

Text: Mark 12:38-44 What was her name? I wish I knew. I wonder if anyone in that sanctuary knew it or if she was just one more of the nameless poor who wandered in and out, barely noticed, if at all. In Mark’s Gospel, she holds titles rather than a name – Woman. Poor. Widow. Her titles cast her among the nameless crowd of people prayed for by the supposedly More Fortunate at each Sabbath service. What was her name? I wish I knew it. I wonder if Mark did? If so, he never tells us. She moves about the Jerusalem Temple wearing the invisibility cloak of the poor. So, who notices when the plate passes by and she drops in her last coins, the only money she had left to buy food for the day? Not on

Field of Dreams

Text: Jeremiah 32:1-3a; 6-15; Revelation 21:1-6a Election Day draws nigh and with it comes the political rhetoric of “happily ever after.” Like the prince waking Snow White with a kiss, hapless hobbits defeating the deathly forces of Mount Doom, Aslan conquering the evil queen of Narnia, Harry Potter vanquishing Voldemort, “happily ever after” stories suggest that no matter what the current circumstances, good will finally prevail over evil. And, in “happily ever after” political stories, it is always clear who is good and who is not. Jeremiah knew all about “happily ever after” tales. He had heard them in the temple all his life. Had he not been hounded by God, I suspect Jeremiah would hav

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