25 Nov A Thanksgiving message from Sherry Pitney
In all circumstances, give thanks
To say the least, 2020 has been a challenging year here at the Mission, with periodic quarantines, temporary closures of our Thrift Store and Nettie’s Mercantile, and several of our staff and guests experiencing COVID-19.
Today, we are serving our annual community Thanksgiving Feast. Gathering inside is not an option, so we are handing to-go meals to our guests, along with personal hygiene items. It is so strange not to see our Great Room filled to capacity with guests, staff and volunteers enjoying a fantastic meal … together. Yet we are still glad we can serve our neighbors in this unique way. We’re even inviting people to share prayer needs and we’re praying with them on the spot.
Tomorrow, many of us will experience the strangest Thanksgiving of our lives. Public health experts have advised people not to travel and not to gather with people outside of their immediate households. A year ago, who could have imagined all of this? Thankfulness is not a response most of us are feeling this week.
Yet, when I read my Bible, I’m told to do something counterintuitive. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, the Apostle Paul writes, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Give thanks in all circumstances. Even during a pandemic and facing a difficult winter. Even amid national political tension and division. During unsettling times like this, God provides perfect peace as we worship, pray and give thanks. I also think of Paul’s words from the paragraph before the passage I just mentioned. He urges us to be patient. To forgive. To care for others. “Always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”
Do you know what I’m thankful to God for today? For the daily opportunity to care for hurting people. I’m thankful for our residents and guests, some of whom have spent hopeless Thanksgivings on the street but who now find themselves on a better path. I’m thankful for our incredible Mission staff and volunteers and our shared commitment to “do what is good for each other.” I’m thankful for the people, churches and businesses who support the Mission financially and in prayer. Together, we bridge so many gaps that divide communities in other ways right now.
And … I am most thankful for the people who have given their lives to Christ this year at the Mission. What an absolute joy to see their lives transformed!
Happy Thanksgiving. And I mean that.
Partners in Hope,d