Cultivating Gratitude

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving.  In our worship services we have focused on being a grateful people.  In my message, I referred to the legend of five grains of corn, from the story of the Pilgrims’ ‘starving time’ and how that affected their celebration of the Thanksgiving feast in 1623.  William Bradford proclaimed at that feast in 1623 that beside every plate there would be five grains of corn.  That was the daily ration each pilgrim was allowed during the starving period. Continue reading


Jesus and the Religious

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Guercino

Sunday I quoted a person I heard several years ago.  I struggle to remember who it was, but they said,  “If you’ve been a Christian for more than three years, read Jesus’ words to the Scribes and Pharisees with great care.  They’re written for you too.”  The point this speaker was trying to make (I think) is that the Bible is full of a description of what is a common problem, we come to God in a moment of clarity and then we seem to forget.  I like to think of the Pharisees as the elders or officers of the church of Jesus’ day.  That is a very analogous position.  They were the folks most excited about their faith.  Yet these are the very people who clashed most violently with Jesus.  That is a caution to you and me. Continue reading

The Ten Cow Wife

What do you think of yourself?  Who and whose are you? It has been said that we think of ourselves as we think others see us.  That is, our self-image has a lot to do with the value we believe other place on us.  This past week as I prepared for the sermon I was preaching I delved into Jewish betrothal and marriage customs at the time of Jesus.  One of the aspects for that process was for the prospective groom to negotiate an appropriate price to be paid to the girl’s family to marry her—the dowry.  It reminded me of a story I heard several years ago about a ‘ten-cow wife.’  Continue reading


Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.  Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

Know that the LORD is God.  It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him, bless his name.  For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.  Psalm 100

Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?  Was none of them found to return and give thanks to God except this foreigner?”  Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:17-19

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving in America.  This distinctively north American holiday is one in which we engage this week.  Families gather, a moment of gratitude is shared and the feasting begins.  In the midst of uncertain economic times there may be a damper on some of our feasting.  We may spend a little time complaining how the price of the meal has gone up this year.  But what we really need is a solid dose of what this celebration was about from the beginning, gratitude to God.

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