Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Surprises

The Thanksgiving holiday season brought with it several surprises.

For starters, I was probably the only person in America who hadn't watched the film, "Frozen."  I'd heard of kids who'd watched the movie dozens of times.  I guess "Frozen" birthday parties were all the rage this summer.  I know many adults who said things like, "It's one of the best movies I've ever seen."  Well, "Frozen" isn't going to make my top 10 list but now I get what all the buzz was about.  A great story and the singing by the two lead characters was just wonderful.  I might even watch "Frozen" again sometime.

I did the Saturday service and was pleasantly surprised by several worshipers who brought coats for us to give to the Phoenix Rescue Mission.  One family donated three coats - one that had been dry cleaned and was still on the hanger.  I was inspired by Matthew 25:31-46 to ask the congregation to consider doing one of the "little things" Jesus talks about - like feeding the hungry or giving someone something to drink, reaching out to strangers and the sick, or caring for the naked and the imprisoned. I've seen our folks respond to this plea although I shouldn't have been surprised.  Our congregation has always been generous and never fails to respond to those who have needs.

I was pleased to have the Rev. Dr. Ray Mirly and his wife, Debbie, join us for worship yesterday. Pastor Mirly was my supervisor during my vicarage or internship year while I was studying at Concordia Seminary.  At that time he was senior pastor at Immanuel Lutheran in Olivette, Mo.  I learned much from Pastor Mirly and the entire congregation during my year there.  He and the congregation were extremely kind to my dear, sweet wife and kids.  Pastor Mirly put me in charge of the Visitation Ministry of the church.  Every Monday night a dozen people (including myself) paired up and went out to call on those who had visited the church for worship the day before.  We all grew in confidence as we talked with strangers about the forgiveness and love of Jesus.  That year was a blessing for me and my family and I will always be indebted to Pastor Mirly for his interest, direction and confidence in me.

Of course, there were things that happened around our house  that were of no surprise - I ate too much, the Christmas decorations went up on Black Friday (a much better way to spend the day IMHO), and my kids and grandkids brought Sherri and me great, great joy.  I hope your Thanksgiving holiday did the same for you!