For the second year in a row, our Thanksgiving service at Fair Haven will go down as one of my favorites ever.
I just love the traditions built into that service that help us say thank you to God. In so many ways, I see the words of Genesis 12 lived out in our Worship Center every Thanksgiving.
In Genesis 12:2-3, God is speaking to Abraham (who was named Abram at the time) and God says the following words. God says, ““I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
First, God tells Abraham that he and his family will be blessed. What I love about the words God speaks, though, are in that very last statement. God tells Abraham that God will bless him and his family for a purpose. God’s blessing isn’t so that Abraham’s family will be blessed while everyone else then isn’t blessed. Instead, God tells Abraham that God will bless Abraham’s family so that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God’s blessing of Abraham is to pass through Abraham to all people everywhere. It’s God’s blessing of Abraham’s family that allows Abraham’s family to be a blessing to everyone else.
On Thanksgiving, I was able to see those words lived out. On the day we said thank you to God for all the ways God has blessed us, one of the ways we said thanks was through giving back, through being a blessing to those in need.
I was able to watch as so many of you carried bags and boxes of food to the front stage to be donated to The Other Way in downtown Grand Rapids to help stock their food pantry. Before we thanked God for the food on our tables at lunch, we gave food away. I stood in line with you after the service to help load the back of the truck that would carry the food to The Other Way. Then, when the truck was loaded with a layer of donations and we had more donations waiting to be placed in the truck, I watched as you rearranged the donations to make sure everything would fit. Personally, I love how excited my kids get to be able to stand in the back of the truck along with some of your kids to help organize the bags and boxes of donations. As if that isn’t enough, at the end of the service, I also watched as so many of you brought your mission offerings forward, using what God has blessed you with to be a blessing to people you may never even meet.
As I reflect on Thanksgiving, I can’t help but be thankful. I’m thankful for you and all the ways you’re embracing the mission to be Good News in our communities and any community where people have needs, as we give ourselves to the mission of helping people find their way back to God.
Pastor of Spiritual Formation