It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
    to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
    and your faithfulness by night,

– Psalm 92: 1-2

November brings our nation’s annual celebration of Thanksgiving.  As Canadians did on October 12 pausing to give thanks, so too will Americans on November 26.  The day and this season of Thanksgiving routinely offers us an opportunity to reflect on our lives and offer thanks.  At our extended family’s Thanksgiving table, we each offer a word about those things for which we are grateful.  They include thankfulness of the gifts of family, good health, the memories of departed loved ones, our nation, a place to call home, the food we eat and for God’s benevolence and love towards us.  Yes, Thanksgiving remains more than a scrumptious meal of turkey, stuffing or filling (take your pick), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, baked oysters, and pumpkin pie.  It is a time for reflection and adoption of an attitude of gratitude to God for the many gifts and blessings we receive.

The psalmist declares the act of giving thanks and singing praises to God to be good.   Indeed, the act of offering thanks and praise to God is integral to our lives as followers of Jesus Christ.  The work, distractions and challenges of our daily lives often steer us away from our relationship with God.  They so often consume all our mental, emotional, and physical energy keeping us from tending to our spiritual lives and our faith.  I invite you throughout this month of November to center your life and faith on the words of the psalmist…

For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
                                   at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

Psalm 92:4

The holy and blessed Trinity created the, entire, beautiful world filled this time of year which such vibrant color and beauty.   Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son, was crucified and died that we might have life now and forever.  God’s Holy Spirit generates faith and inspires us to live boldly as created, forgiven, and renewed children of God.  For this work of God we sing songs of joy and thanksgiving!

In this season of Thanksgiving, we give thanks in 2020 for God’s abiding presence with us in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.  We see God at work in the efforts of health care workers, first responders, scientists working on a vaccine, and in the care extended by many to ease the burdens and challenges experienced around the world.  We see God’s presence in the commitment of those who maintain the supply chains for food and other materials.  We see it in our community of faith in the outpouring of your time, talent, and financial gifts that have maintained and, in some cases, extended our ministries. 

Throughout the majority of 2020, we continue to offer on-line worship each week and offer a virtual preschool program at no charge to our community.  Thank you for the tremendous response of support for the Lake Tanganyika Diocese mobile pastor initiative.  Our congregation raised $3210!  The picture of to the right is Bishop Mwaipopo and the four mobile pastors ordained on September 27.

New livestreaming equipment and enhanced audio equipment has been installed and will soon be ready for use.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you are doing to support, sustain, and grow Christ Lutheran Gettysburg’s ministry!  Your continued support as we near the end of 2020 is essential and critical as our congregation responds with faith and courage to an ever-changing landscape of ministry challenges in the midst of this pandemic.

As a new year looms on the horizon, I encourage all members and friends of Christ Lutheran to complete a 2021 Stewardship Commitment form.  You can complete the form on the Give page of our website.  You can also download the form from the site and mail it to the church office.  Even in the midst of a pandemic Christ Lutheran is working hard to fulfill our mission to share the refreshing and renewing love of God with the Gettysburg community and the world.  We look towards 2021 with hope and faith in God’s promises and presence.

May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Stephen Herr