Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Remembering Gratefulness

The American holiday known as Thanksgiving (or more commonly referred to as Turkey Day, but that is the topic for some other blog) is tomorrow. The stated purpose of this blog is to discuss my upcoming sermon, and related topics, but I found myself in a little of a quandary knowing what topic to cover: my new sermon series, Thanksgiving, or even the beginning of the Advent season (starts this Sunday).

So, could I cover all three? How could I stay in the midst of my new series (we would be in John 2 and the wedding at Cana), and cover both Thanksgiving and Advent? Honestly, I could not think of a way until I re-read a section of a book I finished a few years ago by Heri Nouwen, "The Life of the Beloved." Nouwen writes that gratefulness comes from remembering that we were chosen by God as His beloved. Being beloved by God, since before creation, gives us reason to rejoice, and to be thankful. Being beloved by God has brought us more blessing than we can imagine. The height, depth, and breadth of the love of God is beyond our ability to completely gather in. Ephesians 3:18

So, how does this fit with Advent and the wedding of Cana in John 2:1-12?

It has to do with being chosen to receive a blessing.

The Advent is the living proof of the reality that we are in fact beloved by God. He sent His one and only Son in the world, not to judge and condemn, but to fully express His love for us. And with this incarnate expression of love in the Person of Jesus, the Messiah, we have received blessing upon blessing.

The wedding of Cana, is the first place that Jesus revealed Himself by His choosing to bless those gathered through the miraculous production of wine from well water. Again, God chose to bless those He loves by meeting a practical need in an extraordinary manner. Even though the miracle may have not been in His immediate plan (see His interaction with His mother), because He loved the couple, He chose to meet their need, a need that may have actually been unknown to the celebrants at the moment it was performed.

These blessings, these acts of grace to those beloved by God, lead us to a place of gratefulness. And gratefulness is a place to remember that we are called the beloved.

Thanksgiving. Advent. A wedding. The Bread of Heaven, come to bring living water, that would lead to the pouring out of the Spirit into the lives of the beloved.

There is reason for thanks-giving!
There is reason for rejoicing!
You have been chosen!


robin said...

I love it that you have posted the Pastor's Study here on Facebook. Call me lazy, but I love one stop reading!
I also wanted to say that it is good to be chosen! I know that sounds obvious but I don't know that it is. For several months now I have been trying to shake depression. No matter what I've tried, it relentlessly hangs on to me. But, I can say that although it's hard to feel "happy" or sometimes feel much at all, it truly is a joy to know I'm chosen. Just that knowledge is so incredible. God chose me. crazy. My Daddy loves me. Go figure.

Linda : ) said...

What a pastor! You can take three apparent disconnected themes and weave them altogether in a way that makes it seem like they should have never been disconnected in the first place!