The Weekly View - November 19, 2021
In This Issue
- Weekly Message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
- Weekly Facebook Video
- Announcements & Upcoming Events
- Outreach Opportunities & Updates
message from rev. whitt
Dear St. Luke family:
I learned this past week that for many Native Americans, the holiday we celebrate as Thanksgiving is a day of mourning and protest because it commemorates the arrival of settlers in North America and the centuries of oppression and genocide that followed. I don’t know whether it is possible to detach our Thanksgiving holiday from that association, but that would be my hope. A day to show gratitude, to celebrate God’s blessings, and to share a meal with family and friends is a wonderful spiritual practice. As a matter of fact, while some Native Americans have chosen to reject the Thanksgiving holiday entirely, many embrace the positive messages of the holiday and choose to put aside concerns about the complex history of the day. The idea of giving thanks is central to Native heritage and culture, and so Thanksgiving is simply a chance to appreciate the good things of life like family, community, and the riches of the land. Long before settlers arrived, Native tribes were celebrating the autumn harvest and the gift of the Earth’s abundance. Native American spirituality, both traditionally and today, emphasizes gratitude for creation, care for the environment, and recognition of the human need for communion with nature and others.
And so, at St. Luke this coming Sunday, we will focus on giving thanks, on gratitude, and not on the other aspects of that complex history. Recent research tells us gratitude is more than a polite gesture. It changes us; it helps us; it helps our world. Research shows that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits, including the physical benefits of stronger immune systems, being less bothered by aches and pains, and lower blood pressure. Grateful people exercise more, take better care of their health, and sleep better. People who are grateful also reap psychological benefits: higher levels of positive emotions, more joy and pleasure, and more optimism and happiness. Grateful people are more helpful, generous, and compassionate, more forgiving, more outgoing, and feel less lonely and isolated. Gratitude strengthens our relationships because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people. We acknowledge that other people – and for people of faith, God – gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.
It sounds to me as though gratitude is something of a wonder drug! Some people keep a gratitude journal as a gratitude practice. I include gratitude in my daily journaling, and I post “one wonderful thing” on Facebook every day; it’s really “one thing for which I’m grateful.” I’m going to introduce the children to a “gratitude jar.” How might you practice gratitude?
Some of us will be cooking this coming week for the Street Chaplaincy Thanksgiving Dinner. I’m on Pumpkin Pie Patrol on Monday. Keep us and the lovely folks who will consume what we make in your prayers. Note that the Street Chaplaincy Interfaith Thanksgiving Service is Wednesday evening on Zoom;. See details below - you need to RSVP to get the link.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday when we will “consider the lilies.” Two Sunday’s from now, we begin the season of Advent. What might it mean, in 2021, as you wait for a new pastor, to “Prepare the Way” for Christ coming into our lives afresh?
Grace and peace,