O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Here we are in November of 2020! We have been waiting since March for the pandemic to get better, to get back to our “normal” lives, to go back to church and gather with friends. But instead, our numbers are continuing to rise. More people are testing positive for COVID-19, more people are hospitalized, and more people are dying. This month of November, this month of Thanksgiving will look very different!
It is at times like this when it can seem hard to do “thanksgiving.” But it is at times like these that we must practice gratitude. And when we do, we realize that we have things to be thankful for, even in 2020. At the top of this letter are the first 7 verses of Psalm 95. That has always been my favorite psalm of thanksgiving. It strengthens me and brings me joy at the most difficult of times. It reminds me that the God who created this world and each of us, is with us. God is our God, and God shepherds us throughout our lives. That is reason to give thanks!
Take time this November to consider what you are thankful for. For Loren and me, we are thankful to family and friends who have been there for us on Zoom calls, phone calls, facetime calls, and Facebook.
We are so thankful to all of you at Two Steeples Parish! We thank you for being our community of faith as we have faced the pandemic together! Together we have learned to be Church in so many new ways, and we have continued to share the Word of God’s love and presence. We are thankful to the leadership of Two Steeples for all the hard work that they have done during this pandemic to continue our outreach.
We are thankful and excited that Jim Ranney is working on becoming your Team Minister. Jim began his seminary classes in September. The executive boards of both congregations are in the process of meeting to finalize a contract for Jim that will be brought to the congregation for approval very soon. You might wonder how we can do a congregational vote with all the pandemic restrictions. Well, we are thankful to our synod staff who has shared with us several great ideas (including a drive through vote).
This November will, indeed, be different. But it will still be a time for thanksgiving!
Dear Lord: We give thanks to you for being our loving God, who walks with us through this difficult time. We pray for all who have lost loved ones during this pandemic. We pray for all who were sick and continue to be sick with COVID-19. We pray for and give thanks to the doctors, nurses, hospital workers, and other helpers who have given so much. Bless us and this weary world. And help us to love our neighbor as you have loved and continue to love us. Amen
Yours in Christ,